Elecia Herrera, Stop Talking and Say Something, 2013, Mixed media on pizza box, 14.5” x 14.5”

Elecia Herrera, Stop Talking and Say Something, 2013, Mixed media on pizza box, 14.5” x 14.5”

A joint project between Antioch High School and the Frist showcases community artists

by Stephanie Stewart-Howard

Joshua Petty, Caspian, 2013, Acrylic, oil, and epoxy on panel, 14” x 11”

Joshua Petty, Caspian, 2013, Acrylic, oil, and epoxy on panel, 14” x 11”

Antioch High School senior Tristan Higginbotham says that while her school and Nashville neighborhood might not be renowned for attention to the arts, fine work is being done there. Fortunately, Tristan is in a position to make a difference as coordinator for this year’s Frist Antioch Community Exhibition (FACE).

The project began when several teachers made a pilgrimage to the Frist in hopes of creating a project-based learning platform involving Antioch students. The result was 2013’s inaugural FACE exhibition. For 2014, Tristan, who helped create last year’s event, has become the driving force with this as her senior capstone project.

“Most of what I’ve done has been marketing,” she says. “But the important part was the theme. I’d been blown away by a show at the Frist a couple of years ago: Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination. I wanted to do something like it; it inspired me. The idea for Transitions, Alterations, and Mutations came from my trying to explore that—I think the name changed about forty-seven times, but it ended up right.”

Working with teachers Emma Lancaster (art) and Kyle Martindale (English), she recruited the judges, a terrific panel of the Frist’s Mark Scala, Karen Kwarciak of Cheekwood, and the Renaissance Center’s Andrea Steele, who juried the entries on December 9.

Tristan emphasizes this isn’t just a “high school thing.” They’ve worked hard to get submissions from around the community, including making multiple trips to Watkins and MTSU to encourage applicants. “It’s open to everyone,” she says. “Last year, we even had an elementary school student. This isn’t just a visit to a high school art show with stuff hung on the walls—it’s a true representation of the community, of all ages, and their different takes on the theme.”

Chuck Stephens, Shroud, 2013, Digital print on matte board, 11.5” x 30”

Chuck Stephens, Shroud, 2013, Digital print on matte board, 11.5” x 30”

Last year was 2-D art only, but this show includes 3-D hanging pieces from an MTSU artist. “We’re still figuring stuff out,” Tristan says, waxing poetic about hanging the pieces at the Crossings Event Center in Antioch and deciding on exhibition wall color.

The efforts required of her, including the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of the Frist via the museum’s exhibit designer Hans Schmitt-Matzen, have encouraged her to consider a career as a museum curator and turned her into a powerful cheerleader for art in the community at all levels. As it happens, the judges chose some of her work to hang at the show, so Tristan Higginbotham is represented in every aspect of FACE.

The show is open to the community from February 20 through March 15, with a reception scheduled for 6 p.m. on February 20 at the Crossings Event Center. For more information, visit www.fristcenter.org.

David Anderson, Staring, 2013, Varnish and ink on polyester plate, 18” x 24”

David Anderson, Staring, 2013, Varnish and ink on polyester plate, 18” x 24”

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