‘Our Walk’ headlines First Friday

Suzanne CadaDowntown, Our Town Arts

You are invited to celebrate local artists and enjoy new exhibitions, the Vance Thompson Quartet and artist demos from 5-9 p.m. Friday, May 5, at The Emporium, 100 S. Gay Street, hosted by the Arts & Culture Alliance.

Our Walk, an exhibition by two Lenoir City women, will headline this week’s exhibits. Barb Johnson and Susan Miller walk three times a week through dew-covered pastures which inspired this exhibition, they wrote.

Our friendship developed as we participated in a community of artists called Art Group 21. Since we both live in Lenoir City, we began walking together three times a week which has continued to this day. On our year-round walks which cover 80 acres of farmland, we watch the seasonal changes in weather conditions and vegetation. There is abundant evidence of wildlife in the fields, woods and along the gravel roads. We pass farm animals, plants and trees, new and deteriorating structures, and regularly used or abandoned farm equipment, elements we express in our artworks.

Barb Rybolt Johnson graduated with a teaching degree in art education from Indiana State University. In 2013, after years of teaching, she gave time to creating art, beginning with acrylic painting. Since then, she has been an active member of the Arts & Culture Alliance and Art Group 21. Her paintings have received awards in exhibitions at the Emporium, McGhee Tyson Airport, Oak Ridge Art Center and the Plateau Creative Arts Center in Fairfield Glade.

Susan B. Miller received her BFA from the University of Tennessee in drawing. She has painted in watercolor since 2010. She is a signature member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society and Art Group 21, and she has received awards in local and national competitions.

Also on exhibit are:

  • I’ve Been Painting by Allen Monsarrat
  • Water Spirits by Lynda Best
  • Melancholy’s Epiphany by Tracye Sowders
  • Re-Pair/Re-Connect by A1LabArts
Free live music begins at 6 p.m.

Vance Thompson quartet

The Vance Thompson Quartet is a newly formed ensemble that performs a mix of original and standard repertoire from America’s jazz tradition. The group features Vance Thompson on vibraphone, Taber Gable on keyboard, Tommy Sauter on bass and Kenneth Brown on drum set. Vance is best known as the founding director of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and also serves on the jazz faculty at the University of Tennessee’s College of Music. He performs regionally in a variety of settings, but this will be the first performance of this particular ensemble.

These exhibitions will be on display May 5-26. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday (May 12 only) 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday (May 6 & 13), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Other First Friday events will be happening downtown and are detailed at downtownknoxville.org/firstfriday-artwalk. These include exhibitions, music, performances, culinary arts, public art and more. Watch for the ArtWalk flags outside of participating downtown First Friday venues.

Suzanne Cada is deputy director of the Arts & Culture Alliance


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