I am sure you are well aware that the holiday season is upon us. With limited shopping days, art exhibits, charity galas, kickoffs, luncheon in the park, and a circus-themed event, it certainly has been a social fall season!


Speaking of holiday shopping, Ward-Potts Jewelers hosted a grand trunk showing last month for the 2012-2013 Elizabeth Locke Jewels. Venetian glass bangles, tourmaline, turquoise, aquamarine, peridot, Venetian glass, sapphires, nineteenth-century micromosaics, moonstones, oh my. Cyndi and Bill Sites along with Frank Fields were deep in customers sharing the wonderful pendants, earrings, and necklaces that Donald Pliner brought to Nashville for the show. Good friend Barry Caldwell was in the crowd and shared with me that Elizabeth Locke, before creating her incredible jewelry collection, was a travel social reporter for Town & Country magazine and that she had attended one of Barry and Went’s famous pre-Steeplechase luncheons at their home.

I am sure you are well aware that the holiday season is upon us. 

I must share with you the pieces of the show that I was most impressed with: the eighteenth-century Chinese gambling chips that were recreated into pendants and brooches. These gambling chips were hand-craved of mother-of-pearl and were made for the wealthy British aristocrats to gamble with so that their hands would not get dirty playing with coins. (Not a bad idea, I must say. I feel I’m cleaning my hands every time I turn around.) Ward-Potts Jewelers will continue to display this fascinating line through the holidays, so go on in and get your clean mother-of-pearl poker chips!

Nashville’s white-tie winter gala, the Symphony Ball, held its kickoff for committee members at Kate Grayken’s fabulous French chateau high above the Nashville skyline in West Meade. From the upholstered Fortuny entrance foyer to the inviting roaring fire on the back screened porch, patrons toured the chateau with awe. On everyone’s mind was how did Kate even find this hilltop, much less build this grand estate? My take on the home was elegant, brilliant, dramatic, and Oh So Kate! She and I have been life long friends and attended O’more College of Design together where we would travel together daily to Franklin, one day in my yellow VW bug (with crank sunroof) and the next day in Kate’s white XKE Jag convertible. I love this lady, and I think I will bring a new design term to life: “Oh So Kate”!

David and Catherine Smith- Library Gala

Symphony Ball Chairwomen Jana Davis and Lee Ann Ingram spoke briefly about the upcoming December Gala and shared the most exciting news that Keith Urban will receive the 2012 Harmony Award. In the crowd were the chairs’ husbands, Ansel and Orrin, Symphony Ball Honorary Chairlady Martha Ingram, Holly Conner Sharp, Colleen and Ted Welch, Rachael Odom, Sissy and Bill Wilson, Anne Russell, Elaine Sullivan, Marty Ligon, Vicki Horn, Ellen Martin, Julie and George Stadler, Symphony CEO Alan Valentine, Patsy Weigle and Joyce Hitt.  Of course you will read full coverage of this winter social next month.


I received an e-vite that stated, “This is an all ladies event. However, if you decide to attend you will be maybe one of three men.” Well, I didn’t let the door hit me in the back as I rushed to attend Champagne and Chardonnay benefiting the fight against cancer. Let me tell you that when they said “all ladies” they were not speaking of 50 or 60 of ‘em but over 200 beautiful ladies. The event was held at the gorgeous estate of Janice McCord, and on that lovely fall evening, the silent auction was held poolside with champagne and chardonnay flowing everywhere. In the pool house (complete with full kitchen and two bedrooms) was Suzani Styles, a collection of great embroidered ladies’ boots and handbags shown by Nicole Coltharp. I truly did not know where to look next—a man’s dream to be surrounded by women, lovely women, including Theresa Godchaux Payne, Cyndi Sites, Amy Smith, Marty Goeman, Mary Clarke, Debra McDowell, Sylvia Ganier (Sylvia and Al were hosting a seated dinner later that evening, so she was on the move), Betty Wentworth, Lou Diamond, and Debra Powell. And I thought it was going to be just another normal Tuesday night. Well, now that I think of it, it was! 

Local artists came together for the second annual Unmasking Mental Illness Art Benefit.” This event was held at Rocketown (never been there before) and what a super artful event it was, to support people suffering from the dual effects of serious mental illness and poverty and to help them find hope, empowerment, and recovery. Nashville artists are not only creative but most giving, as demonstrated that evening by the art of Paul Harmon, Alan LeQuire, Myles Maillie, Amanda Norman, Gary Oglander, Charlotte Terrell, Anne Brothers, Ron York, J.J. Sneed, Sherri Parrish and many more. The event chairs Dwaine Anderson, Jacqueline Saporiti, and Amanda Norman did a brilliant job gathering Nashville’s finest artists for this exhibit. I must say my favorite of the show was an oil painting of a collection of cowboy boots by Sherri Parrish. It was a most eclectic groups of folks. Seen having quite the time for “Girls Night Out” were my girlfriends Nancy Cheadle, Sally Coble, and Janet Bentz.

    “The coolest art show in the region.”    

The University School of Nashville held their annual Artclectic patrons party where chairs Frannie Corzine and Ann Shayne titled this show “The coolest art show in the region.” Mighty cool indeed, including artworks of every medium—glass, wood, leather, jewelry, photography, oils, and acrylics. As you may imagine, I do attend many art exhibits during the year, but this show had everything, including artist and friend Clay Bush who finds old car seat belts and creates and upholsters them into great-looking handbags and accessories. Also among my favorites were the glass creations by Grant Garmezy, a USN alumnus, Emme Baxter’s collection of reverse painting on Plexiglass Abstract Impressionism, and Evy McPherson’s jewelry collection. What a show. Oh so very cool indeed!

The 2012 Literary Award Honoree, Margaret Atwood, stole the show during the Nashville Public Library Gala weekend. What a treat to meet Margaret, love her humor. The Handmaid’s Tale, her best-known novel, was selected by Mayor Karl Dean as the citywide read. This novel is typical of the social criticism for which Atwood is famous. Many of her novels take a jab at society with the typical heroine a modern, urban woman fighting for self and survival in a society where men are the all-too-friendly enemy.

Annette Eskind, The Star, with crew -Nashville Cares

The weekend began with a lovely cocktail supper held at the home of Margaret Ann Robinson, with additional hosts Barbara and Jack Bovender, Donna and Jeff Eskind, Jennifer and Eric Paisley, and Deby and Keith Pitts. The highlight of this delightful evening was the conversation between John Seigenthaler and Margaret Atwood, held under tent on the Robinson side lawn.

The following evening the gala was held at the Nashville Library with cocktails in Ingram Hall followed by the seated black-tie dinner in the Grand Reading Room. This is always such a scholarly gathering. Gala Chairs Lucy Haynes and Elizabeth Papel welcomed Robin and Bill King, Libby and Ben Page, Emmy and Steve Rick, Walter Robinson Jr., Ann and Owen Kelly, the lovely Dianne Neal, Heloise Kuhn and Annette Eskind, Julia and Bob Lowe, Judy and Steve Turner, Mary and Calvin Lewis, Stephanie Moore and Tish, Ann and Tom Curtis, Katie McDougall and Scott Chamberlain, Amy and Owen Joyner, Sarah and Richard Bovender . . . that kind of scholarly social group. Following dinner patrons returned to Ingram Hall for a champagne reception, then home to snuggle up with Atwood’s latest novel.

The invitation read Four Out of Four and One Morepresented and held at Stanford Fine Arts. You ask who were the four and one more? Well, they are accomplished artists headed by Jane Hughes Coble (also Nashville’s social queen) and her siblings Anne Hughes Sayle, Dr. Allen Hughes, Sally Hughes Smith, and, last but not least, Jane’s daughter Anne Hightower Trainer. This was a packed house (no one can pull them in like Jane). Enjoying visiting with the family and friends were Eddie Bass, JoAnn and Bill Akers, Anne and Bill Whetsell, Larry Trabue, Grace Clayton, Holly

Anderson and Hugh Hunter Byrd, Lisa and Junius Ellis, Eleanor Wills, Joanne and Billy Bainbridge, Lucius Carroll, Mary Follin and Neeley Coble Sr., and of course Jane’s charming hubby, Billy Coble.

The artists attribute their lifelong love of art to their mother (and grandmother) Jane Barker Hughes, an established Memphis artist. So I guess saying the apple does not fall far from the tree would be most appropriate in this case.

Claire and Hunter Armisted- Conservancy Gala

Wonders never cease to amaze me. How on earth do these movers and shakers keep coming up with clever ideas for all these events held in our fine city?  This was the case at the third annual Conservancy Gala themed “Illusion” and held inside the Parthenon. Just when I thought the first two galas, chaired by Emme Baxter and Demetria Kalodimos, followed by Ellen Martin and Phyllis Fridrich, could not be topped, Betsy and Ridley Wills pulled off another exciting, adrenaline-filled evening. There is just something magical about being in this setting with strong classical architecture at its best, ancient sculptures and art . . . then add three hundred folks for a festive party and poof! You have the Conservancy Gala.

Hope Stringer,Emme Baxter-Conservancy Gala

Cocktails were served in the Treasure Room, then dinner chimes were followed by a dozen or so magicians clad in black tailcoats pulling ropes as if pulling the patrons into the dinner tent.  Speaking of dinner, it was a good, man-size meal, and what an interesting table I was placed with, including Irene and Ridley Wills, Chloe Fort, Martin Brown, Ann Wells, Peggy and John Warner, Mandy Barber and Albert Nicely, and one of my favorite lady dinner partners Annette Eskind. I am usually so lucky to be seated at these lovely dinner parties between Heloise Kuhn and Annette. Unfortunately Heloise could not be there that evening, and she was so missed, sort of like the Parthenon without Athena!

During the dessert course what a surprise—a improvisational painting performance by Dan Dunn of Paintjam. Dan, internationally known as a speed painter to music, painted three gargantuan canvases while dancing and throwing paint on the canvas. Well, this brought the house down with a standing ovation. Betsy and Ridley, along with Honorary Chair Clare Armistead, welcomed Julie and Bob Gordon, Rachael and Gary Odom (Rachael as lovely as Athena!), Anne and Charlie Roos, Frannie and Brooks Corzine, Karen and Bruce Moore, Conservancy Board Chair Hope Stringer, Joy and J.R. Roper, Jennifer and Jamie Parker, Joy and Landy Gardner, Hunter Armistead, Ann Alexander and Jet Tune, Conservancy President Sylvia Rapoport looking mighty fine as an illusion herself. OK, once again I shall say that I can only imagine what next year’s gala will bring forth.

Gary and Rachel Odom, Sharron and Todd Sandahl-Conservancy Gala

I attended my first Christmas party of the season in mid November celebrating the patrons for Christmas at Belmont Mansion 2012. I must say this last month I have been entertained in some of Nashville’s finest homes. This event was held at the lovely abode of Susan and Bob Falk, with the exterior decked out in lights and wreathes leading into a Christmas haven with fireplaces roaring. (I counted nine of them; you realize if you invite me to your home I am going to look around!) Cocktails were followed by a welcoming buffet in the Falk’s striking black-lacquered dining room—most dramatic and sophisticated. Wishing one another a Merry Christmas were Debbye and Hunt Oliver, Shirley and David Horowitz, Anne Sheppard and Mark Brown, Linda and Jere Ervin, Vanessa Falk, Janice and Randy LaGasse, Nancy Russell and Jim Marvin, Joy and J.R. Roper (I think they are on my schedule, never home), Sylvia and Al Ganier, Steve Sirls and Allen DeCuyper, event chairs Morel Enoch Harvey and Nichole Wood Huseby, Brenda Batey, Mary Evelyn and Clarke Jones, and Patsy and Bob Weigle. Patsy shared with me that she already has next year’s chairman in place. Husband Bob stated, “I just wish I could walk around my house in my . . . well, comfort clothes, but Patsy always has a house full of women meeting for something.” You go, Patsy (who has chaired as many events as she has hats for).

To answer a Facebook question I received from my friend Nan Parrish asking if Adelicia was floating around—yes, Nan, she was there and looked fab in her finest holiday attire. She sends her best. May I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas, Belmont style.

Joesph Gregory and Chuck Rapp- Nashville Cares

Come one, come all to the greatest show in Nashville as Nashville Cares presented Under the Big Top, Avant-Garde Redux.” We all have memories of the circus as children, but friends, this was a circus with a different twist that tops all circuses. Marathon Music Works was transformed into a late-1800s circus with stilt walkers, fire breathers, acrobatics, and the most over-the-top animals. Human animals, lions, tigers, monkeys, peacocks, zebras . . . all most buff and fit guys and gals with almost nothing on but body paint. They were even housed in their own cages. Five hours of makeup to create these human animals, stated Brain O’Connell, who with Mac Cosmetics transformed the models. So real that even Noah would have counted them two by two entering his ark. OK, picture this scenario: if I stripped down and was sprayed shades of gray I could have been the circus elephant! Maybe next year, oh dear.

Popcorn, cotton candy, circus treats, cocktails, and what a show that the evening MC, Dee Ranged, orchestrated, much to the satisfaction of the ringside patrons. Co-chairs Wes Davis, Connie Ford, David Frederick, and Patrick Hamilton greeted the guests as they entered the big top. Those with cotton candy and cocktails in hand were Ginger Hale and Buck Forcum, Emily and Mac Hardcastle, Karen and Rick Miller, Ellen and David Levy, LoLita Toney, Jonathan Pinkerton, Ryan Gray, Joseph Gregory and Chuck Rapp, Emily Stallings with Brenda and Lucy Binning from Boone, North Carolina. (These girls are my cousins.) “What a show!” stated Lucy, a college student. “We don’t have anything like this in Boone.” What a pleasant surprise to see my good friend Annette Eskind ringside. I asked Annette if I could photograph her with the cast, and, of course, the sport she is said, “Indeed! I am having such a good time at this party!” So as the animals gathered with Annette front and center, I realized there was one thing missing—a headdress for the star Annette. Not a minute passed before she was crowned with an elaborate sequin and feather headdress. 

This circus event was a first for Nashville Cares, the first of many, I do so hope. This was just a downright fun-filled evening. Oh by the way, do feed the animals, for they may say thank you. Super, super party, Nashville Cares. This was a great evening for folks of all ages. Bring one bring all to the greatest show in Nashville!

Fiona and Jim King, Grace Clayton- Sunday in the Park

An annual fall event where the socials gather on a Sunday afternoon for Nashville’s finest picnic: Sunday in the Park was held a few weeks back in Warner Park. The chairs Kathleen Estes and Leigh Reames outdid themselves with the tent decor. In the cocktail area of the tent was a large, rectangular bar painted white and embellished with tree branches, with taller branches stationed in each corner with what looked like a large lampshade on top. My take was a forest column with capital—most effective, girls.

Dressed in their finest fall picnicking attire and glancing at their reflections in the silver, mercury-glass floral containers as centerpieces were Lillias and Will Johnston, Board Chair Elizabeth Lamar with hubby Howard, Caroline Webb, Jacqueline and Robert Hutton, Chase Cole, Fiona and Jim King, Betty and Jimmy Perkins, Frances and Buddy Jackson, Ann Parsons, Bettye Sue and Robert McNeilly, Ann Wells and Fran Hardcastle, Jane Haggard, Amos Goss, John Bridges, Anne and Jake Wallace, Kate Grayken, Grace Clayton with Celeste Reed, Reed Harrison and Paige Roady, Mary Catherine and David McClellan, Ann and Matt Dobson, Sylvia and Doug Bradbury, Allison and Frank Bass with daughter Carter, Patti and Lucian Davis, Mary and Alex Wade, Anne Russell, and of course the lady of the parks, Eleanor Willis.

I cannot believe this is my last article of the year. Thank you, all my friends and readers, for input and info. Of course I’ll be back next month! On behalf of Nashville Arts Magazine I wish you and yours a happy, safe, and joyful Holiday Season.


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