It never ceases to amaze me how charity fundraisers keep coming up with new ideas. Myles Maillie and the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville brought together the creative and commercial spheres of Nashville for a special event, “Arts Build Community,” at the Sommet Center. Showcasing Myles’ unique style of “stack box painting,” local business and civic leaders joined mayor Karl Dean to add paint and color to cardboard boxes. OK, there was a reason for this madness. During the evening the completed boxes were assembled to create a monumental box sculpture 40’ x 18’. This was totally amazing! The sculpture was then photographed to be used as a large billboard inside the center to show Nashvillians the inherent creativity in the city’s organizations and communities.
Patrons bought “paint brush” tickets and were given plastic cover-ups for the opportunity to paint and keep a box. This is for sure a Myles Maillie idea. Jeff Bradford and the Bradford Group saw to details promoting this event—great job, Jeff. In between having cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Levy Restaurant, we were painting in the lines on the boxes. Myles did take my brush away saying, “Clayton, you cannot stay in the lines. Do not paint out of the box!” (Now I know how a jack-in-the-box must feel.)
Fellow artists joining me were Carol Penterman, Ronnie Steine, Laurie Eskind, Seab Tuck, Paul Vasterling, Harry Chapman, Vickie Horn, Ron Samuels, Rick Hart, Larry Papel, Mercedes Jones, and Taylor Thornton. (I dare to guess that most of these people had never had a paintbrush in their hands.) Best Dress went to the chair, Laura Heatherly, who took a plastic drop cloth and fashioned it into a delightful skirt—watch out Project Runway!
Everything green—no, not Al Gore nor Kermit the Frog—it’s TPAC’s 10th Annual Fest de Ville Gala. This event benefits TPAC’s educational programming. It’s all inspired by Wicked, the Broadway blockbuster which is the opening show for the 2009-2010 season. Co-chairs Renee Chevalier and Robin Glover saw to every wicked detail, down to having flying monkeys. (This was a Nashville first, but I know I have seen those monkeys at other events as guests). Green-tinted eyeglasses were given to patrons with the table number, and it was fun watching the guests trying on their green glasses. It reminded me of a new party theme: “Three Blind Mice.”
Jim Knestrick was the designer, and Tully Wilson of Tully’s Bistro in Hartsville created the menu. I have to go straight to the dessert (what a surprise!). The main course was good but that dessert! A pair of silver chocolate slippers filled with a lime sauce with a white chocolate medallion promoting the Wicked theme was just too over-the-top for me—loved every bite!
The evening was truly an evening in Emerald City; it would even have made Auntie Em proud! Patrons arriving on their brooms were Bob Deal and Jason Bradshaw with Peggy Andrews, Tim Horsley and Stephanie Milhorn, Robert and Steve West (no relation to the wicked witch), Dr. and Mrs. Norman Scarborough, Sylvia and Al Ganier (Al looking quite wicked in red tie and vest), Kathleen O’Brien, Joyce Vice and Paul Kuhn, Carlana and Aubrey Harwell, and Brenda and Ron Corbin. Best Dress goes to Peggy Fragopoulos for her little green and black cocktail number.
Rodin at Bella Luce was a breathtaking event, both the art and the gallery home. Dragon Fine Arts, in association with Twenty 21 Collections/Gallery Rodin, and Jimmy and Rhonda Franks sponsored the event, which benefited New Hope, a new private school in Williamson County serving children in an economically, racially, and culturally diverse environment. Seventy-two limited-edition, posthumous original bronzes by Auguste Rodin, a world- renowned sculptor of the twentieth century, filled the home. Each bronze is cast from original, authenticated molds and plasters, resulting in the formulations and patina finishing used by Rodin. The sculptures included many that we are familiar with: The Thinker, The Kiss, Eve, Burgher Andreus de Andres, and the Bust of Jean d’Aire.
Additional works of art by 24 acclaimed sculptors and creative artists were included in this exhibition and were for sale. My favorite sculpture was by Bruce Peebles, a white walnut and fiberglass face looking into a self-portrait mask. John Davis, a local artist, won my vote for his Bleu Mood Solitaire oil on panel. Other artists included Gustavo Torres, Sebastian Picker, Joseph Guay, and Jean Larson.
When I think an event cannot get any better, I am greatly mistaken. This is the case with the Nashville Jazz Workshop. The ninth annual event was held at the Limelight. The Jazz Workshop is a vital force in the music community, where students have direct experience performing with faculty. By the way, this is one of only two such community schools in the country.
You can always go to the Jazz Cave where top professionals gather and play (not Batman and Robin). Donna McElroy, an ex-Nashvillian who now teaches at Berkeley School in Boston, gave an outstanding performance, as did her fellow artists Beegie Adair, Jeff Hall, Chris Brown and Duffy Jackson. Those tapping to the beat were James Murray, Eileen and Fred Wollam, Mike Randall and Kathrine Guillot, Dr. Vince Morelli, Jean and Bob Dudley Smith, Chuck Dunn, Kira Florita, John Toney, Bernadette and Chris Hugan, Maryanne and Steven Nyquist, John and Trish Lindler, and Harry Williams. Once again, as last year, I will say this event is a Nashville Hidden Treasure—do not miss. Be cool, man!
Randy Read, of Nashville Arts Magazine, e-mailed me to say that the new belle Restaurant at the Belle Meade Plantation is great—wonderful food and packed for their grand opening. Randy also mentioned the International Plein Air Painters took on Edgehill Village recently (for us longtime Nashvillians, that is the former White Way Cleaners). Twenty-five artists set up easels to paint their favorite views.
In closing I would like to mention the new Cecy Reed Student Center at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. Cecy not only was a dear family friend but a teacher, trustee, commissioner, benefactress, and a role model to all at Watkins. She established the Cecy Reed Scholarship in Interior Design and at her death left $500,000 to the College’s endowment, a permanent legacy. At the May Founder’s Day Celebration, Cecy was honored for all her years of service. Broadway star Mike Eldred sang Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable in her memory. I thank Mr. Reed, children Jim IV, Casey, Mac, Celeste and John for sharing this wonderful woman with Nashville and the arts. Unforgettable.