Sculptor Val Lyle, the first Artists in Residency participant working on the Fred Price sculpture. Once completed the sculpture will be installed on the brick patio of the Johnson County Center for the Arts. Submitted photos
by Temple Reece
The Evelyn McQueen Cook Artists in Residency program at the Johnson County Center for the Arts has a special place in the hearts of many local art lovers.
The new program allows patrons to interact with and observe the artists in action, an idea of Center for the Arts Assistant Director Temple Reece, after seeing similar programs at galleries in neighboring towns and cities around the country.
“The artists benefit from the exposure and the compensation for supplies and time,” Reece said. “This allows for a new level of creativity with no demands on content or timeframes.”
Reece added that the community benefits by seeing artists create little by little in the public eye. “They can see materials used, methods applied and watch as art comes to life.”
Cook has committed to sponsoring the program’s first year, hosted in the Center for the Arts newly named Evelyn McQueen Cook Gallery.
Four artists representing the community, Temple Reece, Cristy Dunn, Lewis Chapman, and sculptor Van Lyle, were chosen for the first year, each showcased for four months.
Lyle was the first artist featured during the program from August to November 2021. Lyle has created many municipal and private pieces, including The Caterpillars in downtown Bristol TN and the Take the Stage sculpture, located across the street from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol.
“The Arts Center is such a cheerful environment to be in,” Lyle said. “It’s easy to work here and a joy to share our work with curious patrons, especially the children. Most days, I feel like I learn more listening to others about all sorts of things from their lives than I give back talking about how to make a sculpture.”
Lyle is currently working on a famous Johnson County fiddler Fred Price sculpture. The piece will be the first bronze sculpture in Mountain City and, once complete, will be installed on the brick patio of the Center for the Arts.
From now until March 2022, Reece is in the spotlight to be featured. She finds joy in making the arts available and accessible to people of all ages, abilities, and income levels.
Reece loves sharing the artistic techniques she has learned over the years in hopes of making others’ lives better. While at the Center for the Arts, Reece will be creating paintings, sharing colors, mediums, and methods to help others find their own unique style.
Executive Director of the Center for the Arts and International Guild of Realism painter Cristy Dunn will be featured from April to July 2022.
Dunn said she is looking forward to sharing her artistic knowledge with those visiting the Center for the Arts, in-person and online while demonstrating techniques that she has mastered over the years to help other artists learn and grow.
Chapman will round out the first group for the Artists in Residency Program at the Center for the Arts from August to November 2022.
Chapman, who assisted Dunn and Reece in the 2020 Long Journey Home mural “A Day in the Life of a Song,” works in many different mediums producing pieces ranging from landscapes to pet portraits.
Next year’s Artists in Residency participants will be chosen from current artists with work on display at the Johnson County Center for the Arts or by Executive Director Cristy Dunn.
If you have information
on upcoming arts events, please contact Lewis Chapman at [email protected]