Art League shows off its talent
The Cheatham County Exchange. Randy Moomaw. October 02, 2020.

One year ago, the Art League of Cheatham County held its first show, which took place at Sycamore Square.

This year’s event, which took place last Friday at the Coach House in Pleasant View, was initially set for the spring but had to be postponed and repurposed because of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The event featured 25 artists and 72 pieces of art, along with a musical quartet from members of the Nashville Symphony.

Cheatham County Mayor Kerry McCarver kicked off the Spring Gala by thanking ALCC chairman Debbie Keenan.

“She has devoted time, sweat, tears, focus and funding to ensure that arts have a solid growing presence in Cheatham County,” said McCarver. “She also worked to receive an arts grant from the State’s Arts League to defer the costs for this event. The arts are so important to our lives. We can live without the arts, but what a grave, dreary world that would be. For years we’ve heard that art and music and drama are crucial to our children and grandchildren’s development.”

He noted that the arts had made a difference in South Cheatham when Pegram Elementary School was in danger of being shut down.

“For the Cheatham County twist, it could be said that the arts saved a cornerstone in the Pegram community. The school population had dwindled from 325 students to 188, and the school was in danger of being closed with students transferred to other schools,” McCarver said. “Director of Schools Dr. Cathy Beck and the Cheatham County School Board designated PES as a fine arts magnet school, and in its first years the school’s attendance count was up to 245.  Cheatham County rallied behind the arts to save the school, which has enriched the heart and soul of the South Cheatham community.”

Keenan said she was also especially pleased that the event is taking place.

“I’m also so happy now having cleaned out my basement,” she said about the art pieces that she has been storing at her home since the spring postponement.

Her son, Pleasant View Mayor Perry Keenan, also spoke at the event.

“As mayor, I’m humbled to have each and every one of you here in our community,” he said. “The talent that we have in this room, it’s incredible when you look at what’s here. For me, being mayor here, it’s an honor to have something like this going on in one of the oldest properties that we have here in Pleasant View.”

Caleb King of Kingston Springs, creator of “Curious Cow,” an acrylic on canvas, said he was thrilled by the variety of pieces on display.

Carla Christina Contreras of Ashland City, who submitted a mixed media piece called “Interpret Truth thru Spiritual Wonderment,” also participated in the 2019 event.

“The variety of artists is incredible,” she said.

Participating artists for the event were: Sonja Ann Becknell, Pat Millius, Monica O’Neill, Elizabeth Meyers, Heather Wolfe, Pete Hiatt III, Beth Batson, Ti Rogers, Gail Meyer, Debbie H. Fuson, Caleb King, Cathy L. Hensen, Abigail Lambert, Nancy Johnson, Holly Kenitzer, Phoenix Thornburg, Evelyn B. Stewart, Becky Vincent, Amy Bornsteim, D.L. Brust–Keenan, Carla Christina Contreras and Morris Self. Featured artists at the event were Ken Shipley, Harold Lovell and Kell Black.

Guests heard live music from furloughed Nashville Symphony members Gerald Greer and Mary Kathryn Van Osdale on violins, Kristi Seehafer on viola and Bradley Mansell on cello. The symphony has been shut down because of the pandemic since late spring.

“Our last day of performing was early March, I believe March 7,” said Greer, also a member of the Ashland City council. “We were officially furloughed July 1, 2020. At this point there is no official return to work date and we don’t know why. Performing was a breath of fresh air. It felt good to be performing again. Music takes me to another place, a place of comfort and safety. We all need that right now, but my body really feels the physical workout. People don't realize the physical stamina it takes to play these instruments. We make it look very easy, but it's a serious physical workout.”

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