Monthly Archives: April 2011

Connecting Cultures: Kawa the Blacksmith

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts has partnered with ten local and regional community organizations to present Connecting Cultures: Children’s Stories from Across the World, an exhibition inspired by children’s stories that is designed to reflect the unique cultural values of each participating community. Connecting Cultures will be on view in the Conte Community Arts Gallery April 15, 2011, through March 27, 2012. The exhibition kicks off a celebration of Nashville’s diverse ethnic communities that will include related monthly programs throughout the year. The Presenting Sponsor for Connecting Cultures is the Nissan Foundation.


Two before Tuesday

So what if this week’s title isn’t the best of wordplay for the day after Easter and post HE has risen indeed.  I found all of the eggs, candy, and even a real-life bunny that I could handle for awhile and besides that, the two events that I have in store for you this week to attend are the equivalent of experiencing the absolute bestest Christmas and New Year’s celebration back to back.  Seriously, I can’t even do proper justice to get you hype about this weekend quickly approaching before the week even begins.  If when I say the names of these shows and artists, which I certainly will do in a second, you don’t know … then you better recognize, ask somebody, and get your body ready for what’s about to go down.

It literally starts this Friday, April 29th, from 6-10pm at Ovvio Arte.  That is the locale and time where one of Nashville’s most prized painters, Julia Martin, is primed and ready to hold your attention for a good while to come.  Her new exhibition, HOLD ME, is a collection of new work that promises to surprise all who are familiar with her work and totally blow away all newcomers to her style.  And typing about her style, Julia’s subject matter while making these newbies has changed a little bit from what most of her fans have come to know and love already.  HOLD ME, with pieces made on both canvas and wood, investigates the physical work of painting itself and exploring how nearly every artist struggles with the question “what is a painting?”.  The Artist’s Reception for HOLD ME is, I repeat, this Friday, April 29th, from 6-10pm at Ovvio Arte.  The show will run from April 29thuntil May 21st.  Fridays are fresh days and this Friday should be the freshest this year so far.  Be there or be square.

And so … after you totally get rocked by Julia’s latest and greatest Friday night, you will have a day of rest (either after the Country Music Marathon or during it if you aren’t helping push Team MO along to the Half finish line or pursuing your own personal best time) in line to get prepared for a fantastical trip back to all the things we love about the 1980’s on Sunday with the always fun, Jeff Bertrand.  Yep, Bertrand is back again to leave his creative mark on most of our fond childhood memories in an exhibition appropriately called “WE ARE THE 80’S.”  After ending my favorite month of the year in style, I am not alone when getting excited to start the next month with new artwork from Bertrand and friends.  Jeff has joined forces in “WE ARE THE 80’S” with out-of-towner Patrick Harris from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, because of their shared experiences with ArtoMat and similar styles and backgrounds.  “WE ARE THE 80’S” will feature gnarly references to all of your favorite video games, super heroes, music and movie stars, and everything else radical from the 1980’s pop culture world.  The show opens Sunday, May 1st, from 8pm-10pm and will run until June 11th.  It takes place in Octane! Gallery, located inside of Kustom Thrills Tattoo at 1000 Main Street in the heart of East Nashville.  Need I repeat … again; be there or be square.

But before I depart from this week’s heARt report, I really should remind you that today … TODAY, Monday, April 25th, 2011, is the very last day that you can stop by MIR Gallery (44 Arcade Building Downtown) to see Remaining Works and Days: an exhibition of drawings by Miranda Herrick.  The gallery hours today are from noon-6pm.  Do yourself a favor, take a break from the office, stroll on over to MIR, and check out and support Herrick’s work.  Like I’ve written before, it truly takes a village.  Help do your part; even if just by forwarding on this message and the above to others you think will care and be inspired by Nashville’s heART and art.

Let’s end April with a bang!  Enjoy your day.  As you were, busy but happy.

much love,



Two for Tuesday: Part One

Hello!  How’s that for an icebreaker?  The sun is out, the pollen is low (at the moment in my head), and this certainly feels much better than any Tuesday that I can remember in quite some time.  Flowers are blooming, gardens are growing, and everyone seems to be putting their good foot forwards momentarily while striving to make today a great day.

Honestly, aside from strange weather, this is one of the most exciting times of the year for me.  And it seems as though I might not just be alone in this thinking.  While gearing up for a cooler than cool Warhol exhibition coming soon in a few months (stay tuned), the Frist Center for the Visual Arts has already begun to celebrate the growing and diverse community of Nashville by opening a very special exhibition alongside a yearlong celebration of Nashville’s growing ethnic community at large.

Partnering with ten local and regional community organizations, the Frist Center is proud to present “Connecting Cultures: Children’s Stories from Across the World.”  This exhibition, inspired by children’s stories, is designed to reflect the unique and various cultural values of each participating community.  On display in the Conte Community Arts Gallery at the Frist Center from April 15th, 2011 through March 27th, 2012,“Connecting Cultures” is an artistic bridge between the Frist Center and local organizations representing Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, and Middle Easterners, as well as other grass roots community members and visual artists.

“Connecting Cultures” is an exhibition consisting of original artwork created by intergenerational groups made up of more than 200 participants who speak a wide range of languages, have diverse artistic abilities, and who participated in more than 60 workshops.  The works use a wide range of media including acrylic paints, collage, cardboard, and photomontage.  In all, it is a supreme and delightful source of inspiration and collective storytelling that transcends genre and compels everyone who sees it.  I suggest you check it out and thank the Frist Center’s outreach educators, Shaun Giles and Rosemary Swain (alongside the help of members of the Connecting Cultures Advisory Committee) after the fact.

On top of the all the work and display of the exhibition, theFrist Center will also present a monthly interactive family program that combines the oral tradition of storytelling with art-making activities for kids of all ages to explore stories and cultures from around the world.  The programs are calledArtful Tales, and have already begun as well.  With two programs under their belt already (MangaTime! this past March 5th at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, Studio 19 and alsoRANGOLI! more recently on April 2nd at the Oasis Center),Shaun and Rosemary are pumped and ready for the next program, Tales from Latin America, to start on Saturday, May 7th, beginning at 10am at the Coleman Park Community Center.  This event will be FREE admission and I will definitely get you more details and information as this event and the following events come into light.

And speaking of international goodwill projects and people who spend lots of time at the Frist Center, look no further than local artist and entrepreneur, Andrea Steele and her happy camper playwear clothing line.  Steele, an excellent artist with a heart of gold, is introducing happy camper playwear’s HOPE series to support families who have opened their hearts and homes to orphan children around the world.  This Saturday, April 23rd, from 10am-4pm at the Loveless Spring Arts Festival at Shimai Pottery and Gifts next to the Loveless Café, you will be able to see and purchase one-of-a-kind t-shirts created by Steele.  The proceeds from said shirt sales will support the Wayman Family (Steele’s brother and sister-in-law) in their journey to adopt a son from Ethiopia (Learn more about their story by visiting  Many of the t-shirts’ designs contain various symbols that are drenched with African stories and deep, positive meanings.  Such words and pictures of wisdom, values, beliefs, and inspiration can certainly help us draw on our own hearts and wallets to help others have a better way of life.

AND speaking of international goodwill concerts that many of you would love to know about before it passes us by, look no further than this coming Monday, April 25th, from 6:30pm-9:30pm at the Exit/In.  There and then you will find many on hand and dancing feet supporting “Nashville 4 Japan: A Benefit Concert.”  10:10 AM, The Exit/In and the Shawn & Hobby Band have put together this event, a special one-night-only concert to raise funds for the Children of Japan who have been affected by the recent Tsunami/Earthquake.  Prior to the concert, there will be a star-studded Silent Auction held at6:30pm with a variety of amazing gifts and memorabilia signed and given by many of today’s biggest selling musicians.  Tickets are a $15 minimum donation, but all of the proceeds and donations will go to Save the Children.  Advance tickets can be purchased online at, at the door, or at any Shawn and Hobby Band show.

Don’t worry, there are many other ways to help donate to this or other worthy Tsunami/Earthquake relief organizations if you can’t drop by Monday night.  In fact, I recommend getting one of the most comfortable shirts for a similar cause at  You can thank me and yourself for listening after you sport the new look.

I must go ahead and post another story to make it the said, promised “Two for Tuesday.”  Until then, be well.  It won’t be long.

much love,


Laura Bell Bundy: A Shooting Star

(I originally wrote this piece for Fringe Magazine for the next publication, but it was lost in translation during the transition between new ownership of the magazine.  Don’t worry, as if you ever did, I should be contributing more with the magazine in the near future and I’ll keep you posted per usual.  I just thought this piece and Laura Bell Bundy’s story was too much fun to read, share and get to know.  She is so nice and extremely talented too.  Enjoy!)


Trying to get in touch with Laura Bell Bundy and catching up with her extraordinary career for this interview kinda reminded me of a classic prank among friends that we’ve all experienced before.  There you are, about to step inside the car with friends, and just as you are about to open the door … the driver pulls up a few feet ahead.  The pattern repeats itself until the driver slows down enough for you to jump in, and after a few good laughs, you go on the most amazing road trip you’ve ever seen.  Laura Bell Bundy’s career, once she pauses for a second to let you inside, is such a road trip.  Lucky for me, she took a break for a phone call while shooting a movie in Vancouver, BC.

Right from the get go you wouldn’t know that she’s answering the phone in between filming around the clock because Laura’s voice and energy completely matches that of the fun-loving, exciting entertainer that many of you have already been introduced to either in her music videos, television spots, Broadway roles, and/or the movie screen before.  Catching her first big break out of Kentucky to New York before the age of ten in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, it didn’t take long for people to take notice of Laura’s sparkle and talent.  In fact, it didn’t take long for her to follow-up her first Christmas curtain call into a hit off-Broadway production of Ruthless, The Musical! Then promptly spinning early opportunities and successes into plenty of other jobs in television, movies, and on stage, Laura was having a Childhood Spectacular while going with the flow and learning how to study singing, dancing, and acting.

Laura commented, “I think there’s a divine timing to everything.  I had so many coincidences where one door opened that would lead me into another and it was always because someone I knew saw something in me and opened the next door.”

Not wanting to totally miss out on a traditional childhood, Laura made the choice to move back to Kentucky for a normal high school experience.  It was there while making more friends than movies that she really found herself enjoying the process of writing songs.  What started off as personal poetry quickly turned into music with the help of her friends and singing experiences.  It felt apparent to her after briefly thinking about college that the logical thing to do for her music was to return to the Big Apple.

This time around, things sort of picked up right where they had left off in many regards.  The music that she played was labeled country and although she made solid connections and a good presence, it was obvious she was just in the wrong place to do it.  It was then when Laura was offered a part in a soap opera and took it.  It afforded her the chance to grow as an actor, get other Broadway gigs such as Wicked and Hairspray, and more importantly to pay the bills at that time all the while keeping her own music on the backburner.

While growing as an actor and pursuing all venues in that regard, Laura moved out to LA for a bit.  Instead of leaping head first into the big screen, a chance meeting with an older musician lit her heart’s passion for writing and singing original music again.  She acted on her first passion and made an independent record, but it didn’t take long for Broadway to beckon again.  Laura got the lead in Broadway’s smashing success Legally Blonde.  So, not leaning just on her acting, she went above and beyond the call of duty.  She took the lead while at the same time releasing her record and playing small gigs on her days off.

With foresight and following her intuition, Laura began to plan for her next move.  She finally made a promise to herself and let it be known to her friends at one point that in six months’ time, after saving money and ending her run in Legally Blonde, she was going to fully commit to her music in the right spot.  She proclaimed, “There was a very strong decision within me that pursuing my music and being integrated into the Nashville community was what I wanted to do.”

Fate would have it again that while searching for places to live in Nashville and people to meet, Laura found an apartment and a record deal at just the right time.  She immersed herself in her writing, new friendships and self-proclaimed cave of song writing and what came out later was her debut album of Achin’ and Shakin’.  With a new spotlight came new opportunities.  With a few guest spots on several television shows since her country debut, Laura is proud of her well-rounded creative journey and entertainment abilities.

“I love acting and I love singing.  I’m starting to figure out how to balance it all because one definitely feeds off the other for me.”

And balancing she is doing quite well at the moment.  Besides taking calls and interviews in between filming movies, she also just wrapped up a television pilot and five new tracks for an upcoming album in the works.  Alongside her creative hobbies with fellow friends in Cooter County (Google it and thank me later) during whatever spare time she has left, Laura is over the moon excited about becoming an entertainer in every sense of the word and making Nashville her home for the future.

“Nashville is a deep breathe that allows me to be as creative as I want to be.  It’s unique to everyone here and is a really laid back, emotionally nourishing place for me to just be me.”

With that said Nashville, consider yourself in the car and ready for Laura Bell Bundy’s ride to really begin.

Art, television, blog intermingle

Arts Best Bet, The Tennessean, Sunday, April 10, 2011

Getting by with a little help from mE friends

Today is a special day.  Aside from the rain cleaning and clearing the air temporarily free of pollen that has been swarming all around as of late, there is a unique event taking place tonight that is also bringing a refreshing breath of clean air to the Nashville Art scene.  I’ve talked about and am talking about the artists’ reception to celebrate the launch of the “Nashville’s heART” television series on NECAT Music City Arts 9 (Comcast cable channel 9)

Tonight, April 12, from 6-9pm, YOU and all of your friends are invited to come down to NECAT’s PEG Studio (Building 110 on the campus of NSCC-120 White Bridge Road, Nashville, TN) to join in celebration of this epic occasion.  You will have a chance to meet the artists featured in the inaugural episode of Nashville’s heART (efharper, William ‘Dooby’ Tomkins, and Miranda ‘Mecca’ Crump), see and buy their latest works of art on display, and enjoy a live musical performance by Mr. Hazelwood and the New Transcendentalists (also featured in the inaugural episode).  It will be quite the shindig with a lot of good-hearted and amazingly talented people that you should get to know better regardless of what you may or may not have already planned for tonight.

If you by chance have not witnessed Nashville’s heART on channel 9 to this point, you can catch see the initial episode running again and again on channel 9 every Wednesday at 5:30pm and Sunday at 6:30pm until the next episode airs in a few months (Don’t worry, I’ll gladly keep you up to date and posted as it comes along).

And typing about other good people in the neighborhood doing a lot for the local art scene, I would like to spotlight two amigos doing some very extraordinary things this week. 

First, Meg Nordmann, Production Manager and a big heart at Nashville Arts Magazine, is going to be the Emcee at “A Gershwin Spectacular”/NJO Writer’s Night Concert this Friday, April 15th, 8pm, at the Turner Music Hall, Blair School of Music (Vanderbilt).  The Nashville Jazz Orchestra (NJO) is a nonprofit organization that strives to preserve, promote and advance big band jazz.  Writer’s night has become an annual event and this year, local arrangers are challenged with putting a signature stamp on the works of a master in GershwinMeg, a big part and supporter of the local art scene, is ready to put her own stamp on the event and special night for the arts.  The tribute concert is open to the general public and tickets will be available the night of the event.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and Vanderbilt employees, $10 for students, and $5 for Vanderbilt students (Box Office opens at 7pm accepting checks and cash only).  There will be FREE parking available at the garages nearby, so yet again you don’t really have much of an excuse not to attend.

econd, if you don’t already know about John Guider (his photography and his current adventure), then you certainly should!  Guider, a world-renowned photographer is currently in the middle of his own amazing race of sorts.  Titled “The Great Loop”, Guider has returned to sea … again.  In 2009, he built his own boat, launched in into the Cumberland River, rowed and sailed to the Gulf of Mexico, and all the while making photographs and writing as he camped along the riverbanks.  Now, he is continuing his great exploration of America’s Great Loop by spending another 2 months traveling the Gulf and East coasts of our great country.  The purpose of his travel project is to record and create a visual exhibit that tells the special story of America’s waterways and the people who live there.  Because this fragile territory is scraping to survive in the midst of natural and unnatural disasters such as storms, global warming, etc, Guider’s work is a very important and vital dialog of our changing world and environment.  It’s very possible that many of the places and people he’s recording will be gone forever within the next 50 years.  If you’d like to jump onboard (figuratively) and/or help fund the project (literally), visit Guider’s website and update page HERE.

Before I go for this week and prepare myself for tonight’s fun to be had at NECAT (remember Nashville’s heART’s party I wrote about above?), I would like to encourage you to visit something a little more close to home than the East coast treacherous waters.  During this glorious month of April, I suggest that you visit Art in the Arcade.  Specifically, you should take a stroll down to #’s 75 &77 and see Adam Henry and Emily Mae Smith’s works in Neon Sigh: a new collaborative exhibition between the New York based artists on view for the first time in Nashville.  The show, running through April 23rdin the combined spaces of COOP and Twist (renamed Twistcooparcadia for the duration of the exhibition), is a diverse show of paintings, sculptures, drawings and collages.

So there you have it.  The rain is starting to stop and the gray skies are less gray by the second.  It looks like there is going to be a little light and life after the storms after all.

Enjoy your day and the week ahead.

much love,


Spring has sprung indeed

This past weekend was the full spectrum.  There were things I really missed, things I enjoyed to see, things I wish I hadn’t seen, and pretty much everything in between.  It had beautiful weather that teased me to come out for long dog walks and art crawls all over the place knowing the facts beforehand that I would later inevitably return with smiles and enduring constant sneezing along the way home.  I saw jaw-dropping original art in several locations, helped a Kat with some lost dogs recently rescued from a puppy mill and found my own Sunday church service while sitting in The Basement. I didn’t know what I was going to get into going into it, but in the end I felt like a better person for having experienced it all- story of my life.

It appears as though this week’s events are lined up as much as the Mercury Retrograde will allow, but I know that no matter where I go … things are always subject to change.  And speaking of that fact, this Friday, April 8th, from 6-10pm, the Untitled Artists Group will present their spring show titled “SUBJECT TO CHANGE” at The Essense Room (1511 Historic Jefferson Street near downtown Nashville).  This one-night-only art event is FREE admission, all-ages, and is monumental in the fact that it’s kicking off Untitled’s 20thyear!  Patrons can purchase artwork by check or cash and may take their pieces home with them at 10pm.  Not to forget to mention that on top of having loads of affordable pieces of art by local artists and complimentary drinks and conversations, Umbra A’Shadi (a troupe of belly dancers and musicians from Nashville & Murfreesboro) will be performing during the evening.  This is the 3rdtime Essense has hosted an Untitled show and it will definitely be a charm.

Also this Friday, April 8th, at 10am and FREE admission (with $10 suggested donation to temple) is to be had at a special tour of Sri Ganesha Temple and Hindu Cultural Center of Tennessee.  In conjunction with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts’ exhibition “Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior (running May 29th), participants of the guided tour of the Sri Ganesha Temple and Hindu Cultural Center of Tennessee will gain a deeper knowledge and view into the Hinduism religion and Nashville’s local Hindu community.  If this tour might interest you or others you know, please call 615-744-3342 in order to register before Friday.

So what do you do when the weather is amazing and you have seasonal allergies stacked up against you?  Sorry to repeat the allergic war news and updates, but I have a strong feeling I’m not alone in this front and ongoing battle to plan your next moves with the current weather always in mind.  What do you do … well, I jump head and heart first into the beauty that the day (and whatever my tomorrow will bring me other than 31 laps around the sun) opens itself up to and suffer the consequences with honor and a smile (and a few sneezes as mentioned).  I look forward to seeing nature’s art in bloom this weekend among good friends and good times galore.

No need for any songs and dances this way, but one gift that I know about that will keep on giving is the news that next Tuesday, April 12th, YOU all are invited to the first Nashville HeART Artists Reception at the NECAT Television Station at Nashville State Community College (120 White Bridge Road # 46, Nashville, TN).  It will be from 6-9pm, and you will have a front row view of the latest artwork and music of the people that put together the first Nashville’s HeART show that has been airing every Sunday @ 6:30pm and Wednesday @ 5:30pm on Music City Arts 9 (cable channel 9)Miranda Crump, Emily Frances Harper Beard (efharper), and William Dooby Thomkins’ artwork will highlight the walls at the reception and television station (through July 12th), all the while the splendid sounds of Mister Hazelwood and the New Transcendentalists (who also was featured in and provided the soundtrack for the first episode) will fill the air and excitement of such a wonderful beginning and endeavor for all those involved and touched by Nashville’s art scene.  Don’t be a stranger.  Come on down!

Now excuse me as I soak in this clean, non-allergic, air-conditioned air for a moment of peace and silence before the next waves of Kleenex hit me in the face.    Enjoy the weather, enjoy Nashville’s galleries and art, enjoy the time we have here together, and help share the good word about Nashville’s HeART.  Thank you, I’ll be here all nght 🙂

much love,