Photograph by Eric Willingham

Photograph by Eric Willingham

by Cass Teague

Thaxton Abshalom Waters and his wife Deyonna recently opened a unique art gallery and school featuring monthly exhibitions, vintage treasures, lectures, and cinema. The venue also includes a lending library, an Internet café, and studio space for private lessons. Their mission is to facilitate culture and historical study through discussion and art.

Thaxton says the Art History Class Lifestyle Lounge & Gallery is “a place for me to exhibit my work and antiques I pulled from all across the Southeast region staged into installations that relate to a painting so we can have a 3-D moment . . . not only a painting; we can have an antique that goes along with it and a lecture that goes along with everything that’s happening.”

The location was chosen very deliberately. It is within walking distance of Arna Bontemps’ house, James Weldon Johnson’s house, David Driskell’s home, and the art department of Harlem Renaissance great Aaron Douglas. With so much rich history surrounding the gallery, the couple hopes to capture that spirit and present it in a modern way.

Waters explained that the words art, history, and class were intentionally selected for the name. “Art encompasses sculpture, painting, drawing, dance, clothing, style—just the way we move. History: we want to retell these narratives in a modern context, get the history of a J.C. Napier or a Preston Taylor and retell it in a modern context to bring light to those great giants. Class is to focus on these social structures in a scholastic, academic way since we’re around Meharry, Fisk, and TSU.”

Art History Class Lifestyle Lounge & Gallery, 1305 Jefferson Street, is open Monday through Friday from 12 until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 until 7 p.m. For more information, visit

Photograph by Eric Willingham

Photograph by Eric Willingham



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Nashville Arts Magazine