By Judy Pearson
The ice and snow are gone, the sun is shining, and spring is in the air! Reflecting that spirit, the Shanks Center for the Arts is featuring portrait artist John Simms in the Warehouse Gallery for the month of April. With intriguing classes for adults and students, there is always something new and exciting to see and do at the Shanks Center for the Arts. Managed by CACE (Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression), the Shanks Center is right across from the Depot on Main Street. Also coming in April to the Community Complex is CACE’s Youth Art Expo. Check out their website at www.cumberlandart.com for more information on that. And when you’re at the Shanks Center, don’t miss the mural covering the walls of the ladies’ restroom.
Travel just a short distance out of town, and exciting things are also happening at the Plateau Creative Art Center in Fairfield Glade. The current exhibit is titled “A Moment in Time.” Upcoming events include the Spring Art Show in April and their Judged and Juried show in June and if that isn’t enough, they are working on developing and expanding their new Sculpture Garden. An Art Guild fundraiser you won’t want to miss is “Talk is Cheap” with humorist Bill Landry on June 1. All the latest is at www.artguildfairfieldglade.net.
Don’t miss out on all of the great performance art around town as well. Les Misérables is now open at the Playhouse and Steel Magnolias is in its final month! Be sure to catch some of the great music performances on their schedule as well. You’ll find a whole season to enjoy at www.ccplayhouse.com.
The Palace Theatre is abuzz with musical events. PAART (Performing Arts Alliance of Rural Tennessee) has a full season of First Friday events, including a summer of women in blues and country music and the fifth annual Storytelling Festival in November. Up next on April 5 is great jazz pianist Donald Brown and members of the UT Jazz Faculty. Check the PAART website for details at www.performingartsalliance.org. Go to the Palace website at www.palacetheatre-crossville.com to see all of their offerings.
This is just the beginning. The Art Circle Public Library features art throughout the building and regularly changing art displays. There is a Children's Chorus under the leadership of Brian Bacon meeting at the library. There are also concerts at noon on Wednesdays and movies in the Cumberland Room on a regular basis. Check out that schedule at www.artcirclelibrary.info.
The Cumberland County Film Society regularly shows highly rated films at Rocky Top Theater to film enthusiasts and also free to the public. Email the Film Society at ccfsmail11@gmail for more information.
Cumberland County is home to a professional brass ensemble, the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass whose audience is growing by leaps and bounds. Their next concert on April 20 will feature virtuoso acoustic guitar musician Pete Huttlinger as guest artist. You’ll find all the details at their website www.southernstarssymphonicbrass.com.
Our community is also blessed with the Cumberland County Band (www.cccband.net and the Cumberland County Community Chorus. Amazing for a community of this size, we also have the award-winning Children of Crossville Chamber Orchestra founded by teacher and violinist Becky Bull which performs under the baton of violist Michael Wilson. See their website at www.coccoonline.com for upcoming performances.
There are two wonderful frame shops in town that feature the works of local artists, Mikki’s Frame Shop and the Art and Frame Shop, and artist Sam Hill has a studio where he teaches classes in the Art and Frame Shop.
We have a mural painted by New York artist Katie Yamasaki at the corner of Main and 5th Street, and murals in the courthouse, Justice Center, and in several local businesses, many painted by Crossville artist Judy Lucas and her husband David.
Among over 30 smaller arts organizations in our community you will find rug hookers, storytellers, poets, writers, contra-dancers, weavers, woodworkers, classical music ensembles, country music bands, origami lovers and more. Cumberland County Piecemakers 7th biennial quilt show will be held on June 14-16 at the fairgrounds.
The Homestead Apple Festival and local craft shows bring out more artists and crowds of art lovers. Amazingly, we have art and music classes in all of our public schools!
Bringing all of these organizations together is Arts Roundup, a group of arts lovers begun a few years ago by local music teacher and past board member of the Tennessee Arts Commission, Ann Looney. Arts Roundup meets once a month and everyone is welcome. Contact Ann Looney at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the next meeting.
Is Cumberland County a community of the arts? You betcha!