Archive for the ‘News’ Category

“A Scene In Green” 2016: Recap

Posted on: May 30th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

It was “A Scene in Green” when The pARTy, the annual event to benefit Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, returned to campus (4/23). Watkins’ president, Dr. J. Kline, and Board of Trustees chair Samuel E. Stumpf, Jr., welcomed 200 artists, educators, community and business leaders to the school’s Metro Center campus for cocktails on the lakeside boardwalk, a “gallery tour” of art from the Watkins collection, and the opportunity to buy original work from students and instructors. This year’s Scene in Green theme reflected efforts to support a campus greening initiative, and guests were invited to purchase items from a “wish list” of trees, flowers, benches, picnic tables, and a butterfly garden.

pARTy_16_logo_web1 WwebIt was a perfect night for outdoor entertaining, and, under a tent by Amulet Lake, dinner by The Chef and I featured an elaborate chARTcuterie bar, buffet stations, and hand-dipped ice creams and sorbets.

After a reveal by President Kline of upcoming campus enhancements, guests kept the pARTy going by dancing to the music of the Karlton Taylor Quartet.

The pARTy benefits the education, outreach and enhancement programs of Watkins, the independent, nonprofit, four-year baccalaureate college now in its 131st year of service and inspiration to the community.

Support and sponsorship from the following are the “Life of the pARTy”:

  • Gold Program pARTner: SunTrust Foundation
  • Silver sponsors: AmSurg, HCA/TriStar Health and Nashville Carpet Center/Hunt Oliver
  • Bronze sponsors: KPMG LLC, McCarthy Jones & Woodard LLC; Neal & Harwell, PLC; Piedmont Natural Gas
  • Pewter sponsor: Beth Scott Clayton Amos, LUTCF, CLTC, Insurance & Financial Services.
  • Lipman Brothers, LLC and R.S. Lipman Company provided wine, spirits and beer

Invitations, signage and other event materials were created by Graphic Design alumnus Michael Korfhage.

Tim Amos, Beth Scott Clayton Amos, Dollye Clayton
Susan Basham, Steve & Cathy Holland, Ellen L. Meyer
Waddell Wright & Tové Gunnarson, Debbye & Hunt Oliver
Stacy & Adrian Ivasic
Dee & Doug Altenbern, Adrienne & Bob Knestrick
Alumna Heather Barrie
Kristina Krau Waymire and Patrick DeGuira
Sam & Jane Stumpf, Taylor & Phyllis Henry
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn & Chuck Blackburn
Debby Dale Mason, Sarah Knestrick, Doug and Dee Altenbern, Walter Knestrick
Alison Miyauchi, Watkins President J. Kline, Rick Urbano, Mary Ellen Lothamer
Paige and Kandace Wigington
David Garner, Mildred Jarrett
Lang and Lisa Aston, Emme and Butch Baxter, Christian Currey
Vicki Zeigler, Tom Carnell, Austine Fleenor
Pam Thomas, Sherry Fleming, LaTishia Jordan, Betty Malone, Donzleigh Weatherford
Reggie Hill, Patsy & Matt Powers, Laura & Hunter Rose
Cary Beth Miller, Kristi Hargrove, Lisa Williams, Angelique Rabus, Ariel Lavery, Jenna Maurice
Tony Thompson, Jennifer Johnson, Dalton Johnson
The pARTy tent!
Gov. Winfield Dunn, Pam Trella, Betty Dunn
Sam Stumpf
Brad Garner, Sandra McDonald, Ryan Fleenor
Gov. Winfield Dunn
J. Kline
Jenna Maurice, Candace & Richard Gershman, Kristi Hargrove, Cary Beth Miller, Angelique Rabus, Arial Lavery, Robin Paris
Karlton Taylor
Everybody dance now!

WAG Goes with Mildred Jarrett’s ‘Without ‘Isms’ for June Show of Paintings

Posted on: May 30th, 2016 by Caroline Davis 2 Comments

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents Without ‘Isms, an exhibition of painting by Watkins alumna Mildred Jarrett, at its downtown gallery WAG during the June 4 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl, from 6 to 9 p.m. and throughout the month by appointment.

Jarrett’s work is firmly anchored in non-objective expressionism, with experimental searches following spontaneous intuitions without the distraction of subject matter or narrative; often the surfaces of the large acrylic canvasses are sanded, glazed, or scraped to further the transformation process.

Click for feature on WPLN-FM and interview The News Mildred Jarrett interview 6.2.16

Mildred Jarrett_portrait_newA native of Oklahoma, Jarrett began formal art instruction at age 15 with private lessons at the Nashville Museum of Art, and, at 17, enrolled for additional instruction at Watkins Institute. She was considered too young for figure class, and so was directed to traditional painting.

Later, as a young wife and mother, she began to sell encyclopedias in order to buy paint and canvas. Selling door-to-door was an introduction to a 37-year career in corporate sales management that allowed her to travel the world as an international trainer and motivational speaker. As time permitted, she also continued her studies, taking courses at the University of Tennessee-Nashville, Vermont School of Art and Design, MTSU, and Volunteer State Community College.

After retiring in 1992, Jarrett returned to Watkins to earn her long-awaited art degree in 2001 (the Associate of Fine Arts degree). Her paintings have been exhibited extensively in solo and juried shows throughout Tennessee as well as in Alabama, North Carolina and Oklahoma, and are prized in numerous private collections (including the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Bob Corker).

"When Day Surrenders" (acrylic, 30" x 24")

“When Day Surrenders” (acrylic, 30″ x 24″)

“As an artist, I am willing to make self-revealing discoveries steered by intuition,” says Jarrett. “Facing a blank canvas in awesome fear that the first stroke is a revealing personal emotion, either conscious or subconscious, takes courage! The many experiences of the corporate world have given me the sureness needed to make powerful statements more moving than imitating nature. The way I see it, if I can travel over the jungles of Africa in an old DC-3, board a British submarine in Nova Scotia, be questioned by the police in China, slide around a mountain in New Zealand, drive in New York City without directions and all the other personal accumulations, I can attack this canvas!”

For more information, visit her website:

WAG–an acronym for Watkins Arcade Gallery–is located in suite 77 upstairs in the historic Arcade and is open the first Saturday evening of the month during each Art Crawl (from 6-9 p.m.), and by appointment.

WAG joins approximately 20 participating Art Crawl galleries along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Admission is free, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles traveling among the venues. For more information on the First Saturday Art Crawl, visit

President J. Kline congratulates Millie Jarrett
Diana Lee, Millie Jarrett, O Gallery’s Olga Alexeeva
Millie with Waddell Wright and his daughter, Eleanor
Professor Terry Thacker, contemplating
Millie with Lucy & Tom Botorff
"Explorations" (acrylic, 48" x 144")

“Explorations” (acrylic, 48″ x 144″)

About WAG
The Watkins Arcade Gallery–WAG–is a public exhibition space of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film committed to serving the College community and the community at large through exhibitions and programs that enhance curriculum as well as engage a greater audience in the visual arts. WAG is dedicated to supporting the educational and cultural mission of the College by encouraging students to think independently and creatively about their art practice and role as critical thinkers within the cultural landscape. The venue will present shows year-round featuring work by Watkins students, alumni and other professional artists. For inquiries, contact WAG is the second Watkins-run gallery space, joining the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery, the primary exhibiting space on the College’s campus in Metro Center.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Inauguration of Dr. J. Kline: Recap

Posted on: May 23rd, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Inaugural festivities celebrating Dr. J. Kline as the 16th president of Watkins were held on Friday, May 13 — the day before Commencement 2016 — in a 4 p.m. ceremony on campus attended by faculty, staff, students, alumni, academic colleagues, and friends from Nashville government and cultural organizations.

President J. Kline and Mayor Megan Barry

President J. Kline and Mayor Megan Barry

We were most honored to welcome Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, and in appreciation for her support of the arts, she was presented with an artists’ book created for this occasion, featuring contributions from 43 artists, including students, alumni, faculty, adjuncts and staff. The original work included paintings, drawings, collages, printmaking and photography. Many pages offered a unique, artistic perspective on Nashville locations, and there were even a few pages featuring the Mayor herself!

Noted bookbinder Katie Gonzalez of linenlaidfelt, a Watkins teaching artist, bound the pages to create a one-of-a-kind reminder of the incredible visual arts talent studying and teaching at Watkins.

Read the order of events: Dr. Kline Inauguration program 5.13.16

Special thanks to Graphic Design junior Noelle Grimes for designing the Inauguration invitation and program

Dr. J. Kline, Sam Stumpf and Mayor Megan Barry, before the processional
Board member Reggie Hill, Commissioner Brownlee O. Currey, Jr., Trustee emeritus Ward DeWitt and [back to camera] board member Larry Papel
Board member Waddell Wright, ready to march
Faculty Senate President Steve Wilkison, carrying the mace and leading the academic procession
Watkins faculty members
Faculty Senate President Steve Wilkison, representing the faculty
Vice President for Academic Affairs Joy McKenzie, representing staff
Photography junior Haley Nicole Carter, representing students
Alumna Lee Ann Hawkins, ’06, representing alumni
Commissioner Currey, representing the board and commissioners
Sam Stumpf presents an artists’ book to Mayor Barry
Mayor Megan Barry
Sam Stumpf presents the mace to Dr. Kline
Dr. J. Kline, 16th president of Watkins
Sam Stumpf, Mayor Barry, President Kline
Silver Strings provided music for the ceremony and reception
Board member Pam Thomas, Financial Aid’s Regina Gilbert
Mayor Barry, President Kline, TICUA President Dr. Claude O. Pressnell, Jr.
Commissioner Susan Basham, board member Robert Hebert, Joy McKenzie, board member Anna Jaap
Larry Papel, Hatch Show Print’s Jim Sherraden, Allen DeCuyper, Hatch’s Celene Aubry
Faculty members Robin Paris and Tom Williams, OZ Arts Nashville’s Lauren Snelling
Valerie Kyle, Dr. J. Kline
OZ’s Tim Ozgener, Commissioner Walter Knestrick, Elizabeth Papel, board member Samantha Saturn
Allen DeCuyper, board members Steve Sirls, Judge Carol McCoy, Reggie Hill and Jim Kelley
Faculty family!

(photo credit: Susan Adcock)


Watkins Commencement 2016: Recap

Posted on: May 23rd, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

President J. Kline and Callie Khouri

President J. Kline and Callie Khouri

It was a beautiful day on the Watkins campus to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates from the Art, Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography programs. Among the many highlights was an inspiring Commencement speech given by Callie Khouri, filled with personal reminiscences of her career struggles before — and after — finding success by writing the Thelma and Louise screenplay.

“You are glorious and brave in what you are about to attempt. Do me a personal favor…Make me think. Make me feel. Make me experience something I could never have experienced if you didn’t show me. Your capacity to love and to show love to people you will never meet is the soul of generosity. Generosity is the hallmark of an artist. Show up for the muse.”

COMM_2016 Lily AdcockRead the entire speech here: Callie Khouri Watkins Commencement Address May 14 2016 r

Sara Kathryn Schork, a Graphic Design major from Nashville, was named recipient of the annual Samuel Watkins Award for Excellence, given to the graduate possessing the highest GPA.

See the list of graduates in the Commencement 2016 program

Photo credit: alumnus Tyler Blankenship.

Student Life Director Tina Waymire shares final instructions and encouragement
Watkins’ Class of 2016!
President J. Kline, Callie Khouri, VIce President for Academic Affairs Joy McKenzie, Board of Trustees Chair Samuel E. Stumpf, Jr.
A happy Joy McKenzie
President J. Kline and Board Chair Sam Stumpf present Callie Khouri with the doctoral hood, in recognition of her Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts
Dr. Khouri delivers the Commencement Address
Upreyl Mitchell getting her diploma
David Anderson surprises with a cap full of confetti
Off to the reception!
The BFA in Fine Art and BA in Art gang
Graphic Design students and faculty
Gloria Avila, Callie Khouri and Garrett Macpherson
Hayley Montague with Callie Khouri


Swaney 2016 Doubles Prize for S.T. Davis and Marlos E’van

Posted on: May 15th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

The 10th edition of the Robb Swaney Prize for Excellence in Visual Expression witnessed compelling work from 11 students across all disciplines — and for the first time, two winners were selected.

After intense deliberation by jurors Martin Shofner of Shofner Buck Architects/Architectsure and Walter Crouch of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLC (both former associates of Mr. Swaney), Film School junior S.T. Davis, of Millington, TN, was awarded the $1,000 first place prize, and Art senior Marlos E’van, a Mississippi native who now calls Nashville home, received special recognition with an additional $500 award.

Swaney2016 room ph 1490 WwebEstablished in 2006 by Mary Jane Swaney in memory of her husband, noted Nashville architect Charles Robb Swaney, the Swaney prize honors students who produce “visual designs and patterns that spoke to others.” Davis, whose concentration is cinematography, impressed with a film reel whose visuals and editing weaved a powerful narrative. E’van, who will earn a BA in Art with a concentration in painting, displayed two striking large-scale paintings on canvas and a collection of smaller works on paper.

Students were selected by their department chairs to participate in the annual competition, and brought examples of their work to display and discuss.

Congratulations to all the 2016 Swaney Prize participants!

Swaney2016 1513 Shofner painting review WwebArt:
Marlos E’van

Fine Art:
Mali Hamilton
Micah Mathewson

S.T. Davis
Emileigh Potter

Graphic Design:
Chris Fornal
Noelle Grimes

Interior Design
Anna Caro
Aimee Spencer

Sarah Faith Taylor
Sandra Ventura-Benitez

President J. Kline, S.T. Davis, Martin Shofner, Marlos E’van, Walter Crouch
Aimee Spencer
Chris Fornal
Emileigh Potter
Sarah Faith Taylor
Mail Hamilton
Sandra Ventura-Benitez
Micah Mathewson
Noelle Grimes
Anna Caro
President J. Kline, S.T. Davis, Marlos E’van
Mali Hamilton, Martin Shofner
Chris Fornal, Martin Shofner
Martin Shofner
Martin Shofner, Micah Mathewson

Inauguration of Dr. J. Kline as Watkins President: May 13

Posted on: May 12th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins is excited to officially recognize a new chapter in our illustrious 131-year history with the inauguration of the institution’s 16th President, Joseph (J.) Kline, Ph.D, on May 13. Join us in celebrating Watkins and its commitment to our students, alumni, faculty and the entire arts community!

Dr. J. Kline

Dr. J. Kline

Dr. Kline was named president in July 2015, bringing nearly 20 years of higher education administrative experience to his role at Watkins, with expertise in student recruitment, interdisciplinary programming, fundraising and strategic partnerships. Prior to Watkins, he served Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), and held professor and department chair positions at the Savannah College of Art and Design and at DeSales University (Center Valley, PA). Dr. Kline has a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado State University, a Master of Fine Arts from the Catholic University of America, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Fine Arts from Texas Tech University.

Read more about Dr. Kline

The inauguration will begin promptly at 4 p.m. on lucky Friday, May 13, led by Board chair Samuel E. Stumpf, Jr. Immediately following, a reception will be held in the Cecy Reed Student Center.

This second weekend in May will be a momentous one for Watkins! The day after the inauguration festivities — Saturday, May 14Commencement for the Class of 2016 will begin at 10 a.m. Noted writer/director/producer Callie Khouri (creator of Nashville, Oscar-winner screenwriter of Thelma and Louise) will deliver the Commencement address. Both ceremonies will be held in a tent on the Watkins campus. Free parking is available in the front lot, and guests will be directed to the proper entrance.

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. (37228) in the Metro Center area, just north of downtown (approximately three miles from the Tennessee State Capitol), and easily accessible via I-65. See Google map for directions.

For questions, please contact Maggie Fansher: or 615-277-7402.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Callie Khouri To Deliver Watkins Commencement Address at May 14 Ceremonies

Posted on: May 12th, 2016 by Caroline Davis 1 Comment

Callie Khouri, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Thelma and Louise and creator/executive producer of the hit television series Nashville, will be the keynote speaker for Watkins College of Art, Design & Film’s 2016 Commencement on Saturday, May 14.

Ms. Khouri will also receive the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts from Watkins during ceremonies on the Watkins campus, beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited.

Ms. Khouri galvanized women and sparked nationwide debate in 1991 with the hit movie Thelma and Louise–her screenwriting debut–which was nominated for six Academy Awards. She won the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Writers Guild of America Award, and a PEN Literary Award for best original screenplay. Her second film, released in 1995, was Something to Talk About, starring Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid and Robert Duvall. She made her directorial debut in 2002 with Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (which she also adapted for the screen), featuring Sandra Bullock and Maggie Smith, followed by the 2008 caper comedy Mad Money with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah.

Callie Khouri with "Nashville" stars Charles Esten and Connie Britton

Callie Khouri with “Nashville” stars Charles Esten and Connie Britton

Currently, Ms. Khouri is writer, director and executive producer of the ABC/Lionsgate music drama Nashville (which she also created), in its fourth season.

Dr. J. Kline, president of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, described Ms. Khouri as, “a role model and inspiration, not just for our film students, but all our students. Through the course of her career she has pursued various avenues of success, while all the time remaining an engaged member of the artistic community on a national and a local level. She has created opportunities for Nashville artists of all stripes and afforded many of our students their first professional experience. We are thrilled and honored to have her as our commencement speaker.”

Producer Mimi Polk Gitlin, actress Geena Davis, journalist Anne Thompson and writer Callie Khouri at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 20th anniversary screening of "Thelma & Louise" (August 25, 2011)

Producer Mimi Polk Gitlin, actress Geena Davis, journalist Anne Thompson and Callie Khouri at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 20th anniversary screening of “Thelma & Louise” (2011)

After graduating from high school in Paducah, Kentucky, Callie Khouri attended Purdue University, taking classes in landscape architecture and drama. She lived in Nashville for a time before heading to Los Angeles in 1982 to pursue a theater arts career, studying at the Strasburg Institute. In 1985 she shifted her focus to film production, beginning as an assistant on commercials and music videos and eventually becoming a music video producer. During this time she wrote the script that would become Thelma and Louise. In addition to its success Hollywood success, it earned the London Film Critics Circle Award for Film of the Year and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay from the British Academy of FIlm and Television Arts. Ms. Khouri has served on the Writers Guild of America’s board of directors and on the Writer’s Guild Foundation’s board of trustees, and was a member of Hollywood Women’s Political Committee, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting Women’s Media Watch Project.

She has also taught filmmaking and theater arts, including a writing and directing course through the Arts Initiative at Columbia University.

Read 25th Thelma and Louise anniversary interview with Geena Davis and  Susan Sarandon  

Following the welcome from Watkins President Kline, Watkins Board of Trustees chair Samuel E. Stumpf, Jr. will present Ms. Khouri with the honorary DFA. Previous recipients of the honorary degree from Watkins include former Nashville mayor Karl Dean (2014), author/illustrator David Macaulay (2013), cultural policy expert Bill Ivey (2012), and Albert Hadley (2010), noted interior designer who studied at Watkins Institute in his youth.

After Ms. Khouri delivers the Commencement address, Vice President for Academic Affairs Joy McKenzie will  present BFA and BA candidates in art, film, fine art, graphic design, interior design and photography, and Mr. Stumpf will confer the degrees.

The Class of 2016 will be the first to graduate under the leadership of President Kline, who began as the institution’s 16th president in July 2015. In February, Watkins launched its first graduate-degree program, the Master of Fine Arts in Film Production, a two-year course of study designed on a flex schedule for working professionals (

Callie Khouri, interviewed for "Makers"

Callie Khouri, interviewed for “Makers”

More about Callie Khouri:

• Multi-part interview with Makers, the largest video collection of women’s stories

• Syd Field: The Art of Visual Storytelling: Callie Khouri on Creating Character: ‘Thelma and Louise’ 

• Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1991: Callie Khouri Answers Critics of ‘Thelma and Louise’


Anna McKeown Named New Director of Community Education

Posted on: May 11th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is pleased to announce Anna McKeown’s appointment as Director of Community Education. Anna joined the Community Education (CE) department in 2013, first as the Community Education Coordinator. Since then, Anna has also served as Interim Director on two different occasions.

She received her BFA in Studio Art from Belmont University, where she was awarded the Cyril V. Evans Outstanding Art Student Award in her senior year, in addition to winning a Juror’s Choice Award at Belmont in a student exhibition.

While at Watkins, she has been intimately involved in the annual Handmade and Bound Festival, particularly its community workshops.

In making the announcement, Hilrie Brown, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, said, “Anna has  an understanding of the mission of the CE program, and will direct it to a bright future. We welcome her to this new position as Director, effective May 18.”

Graphic Design Seniors Do The WORK in May 5 Showcase

Posted on: May 4th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins’ Graphic Design majors Chris Davidson, Lacy Frazier, and Sam Woolson will be in the spotlight for their senior exhibition WORK on Thursday, May 5, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The senior show, on display one night only in the lakeside Cecy Reed Student Center, will coincide with the opening of the final Fine Art and Photography senior exhibition in the Currey Gallery.

Chris Davidson, Portishead album packaging

The portfolio showcase, which is free and open to the public, will introduce to the community three outstanding graphic designers and illustrators through print and multimedia projects in advertising, packaging, branding and identity, digital publishing and illustration.

Originally from Madison, Alabama, Chris Davidson is a designer and artist — and typographic fanatic — who creates products, packages, advertisements and brand identity that explore the honesty behind relations between the designer and the viewer. His mediums range from screen print, linocut, and paint marker, to scanners and adobe InDesign, and his work has been seen in Watkins’ all-school juried show and in Graphic Design’s Split & Twisted competition.

Lacy Frazier

Lacy Frazier, “Karl Marx”

Originally from Austin, Texas, Lacy Frazier will present illustration-based work mostly based in pen and ink, watercolor, and some vector art. The work ranges from illustration and character design, to packaging, branding, and advertising.

While at Watkins, Lacy’s work has been juried into the Split & Twisted show, as well as winning two local Addy awards in ad campaign categories. After graduating Lacy plans on returning to Austin, where she will be focused on illustration-based design.

Sam Woolson, postcard series

Sam Woolson, postcard series



Sam Woolson
will be presenting a style that combines printmaking techniques and illustration. She loves carving away at linoleum and woodblocks, intaglio, and screen printing, and enjoys experimenting with colors and type.

For more information, visit show website [that’s six Works].

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Watkins Graphic Design students and alumni are consistently among the most honored in the country through their submissions to regional, national and international advertising design competitions, particularly in the student and professional categories of the ADDY Awards (hosted by the American Advertising Federation). In a seven-school competition field at the 2016 AAF–Nashville Student ADDY Awards, Watkins graphic design students won 10 Gold Awards, nine Silvers, and one Judge’s Choice Award, and have claimed several prizes at the District level. At the 2015 Nashville Student ADDYs, Watkins won more top awards than any other school competing (for the third consecutive year), claiming 12 Golds, 11 Silvers, two of four Judge’s Choice honors and Best in Show. In the next-level competitions, Watkins students won four Golds and four Silvers at the District level and two national Addys.

Watkins students continue to blanket Nashville and the region with their intelligence, visual wit and creativity through unique opportunities with several beloved Nashville community events. In the past few years, their talents have been chosen to promote signature happenings such as the American Artisan Festival, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, Music City Hot Chicken Festival, Nashville Sister Cities Program, Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera performances, and Murfreesboro’s JazzFest, as well as the Nashville Scene’s “Best of Nashville” cover art.


Alumnae Showcase Healing Arts in May 7 show at Watkins Arcade Gallery

Posted on: May 3rd, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final…

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

 Give me your hand.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Watkins presents Let Everything Happen, with work by artists of Healing Arts Project, Inc. (HAPI), at its downtown gallery WAG during the May 7 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl. Curated by Watkins alumnae Sharon Stewart and Sharyn Bachleda, the multi-media exhibition offers pieces that give visual language to the often unspeakable experiences of the inner human landscape.

HAPI ( is a Middle Tennessee 501(c)3 whose mission is to provide “an avenue for persons in mental health and addiction recovery to express their creativity through a wide range of artistic endeavors…promoting understanding, acceptance, and success.”

Stewart and Bachleda are HAPI art instructors at the Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association. The works on display have been selected from those submitted by Nashville-based HAPI artists at TMHCA, Park Center South, and Centerstone’s ReConnect Peer Support Center.

James Elwood Lewis, "The Music In the Background"

James Elwood Lewis, “The Music In the Background”

Let Everything Happen emphasizes that it is an inherent part of life to struggle for internal equilibrium; and at times to find oneself standing with one foot in a place of beauty and the other in terror, and, even so, to remain standing. In making visible their individual experiences of these line-blurring states of being, the HAPI artists offer viewers a place to consider their own, and to remember that no one has to be alone in any of this, that many things are better when shared.

A 2015 Watkins graduate with a BFA in Photography, Sharon Stewart has been involved with the Healing Arts Project, Inc. since 2013. Her work, collaborations and curatorial projects have been exhibited at Carlos Gallery, COOP, OZ, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and WAG, and have been featured in Hyperallergic, Nashville Arts Magazine blog, The Nashville Scene, The Contributor and on WTVF/NewsChannel 5. She is passionate about participating in work that creates opportunities for connection and transformation in the lives of individuals and communities.

Hilary Roemer, "Ancient Folktale Convenience"

Hilary Roemer, “Ancient Folktale Convenience”

Sharyn Bachleda was born in Deerfield Beach, Florida and moved to Nashville in 2012, graduating with a BFA in Fine Art from Watkins in 2015. She has participated in numerous exhibitions throughout Tennessee including at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Knoxville Museum of Art, the Tipton Gallery, Tthe Bijou Theater, Track One, Lipscomb’s Gallery OPEN, and the Bagwell Gallery. Bachleda has worked as a pre-school teacher’s aid, works as a freelance photographer, and aspires to continue educating and inspiring individuals of all ages through art therapy, photography and fashion.

WAG–an acronym for Watkins Arcade Gallery–is located in suite 77 upstairs in the historic Arcade and is open the first Saturday evening of the month during each Art Crawl (from 6-9 p.m.), and by appointment.

Click to enlarge evite

Click to enlarge evite

WAG joins approximately 20 participating Art Crawl galleries along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Admission is free, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles traveling among the venues.  For more information on the First Saturday Art Crawl, visit