FAB-ulous artwork

Fine Arts Blount Spring Show will showcase local artists, high school exhibitors

By Suzy Smith
Blount Today

Art enthusiasts need not travel to New York or Chicago to see world class original pieces of art. All they need to do is go to the Blount County Library to see Fine Arts Blount Spring Members’ Show on April 27 -29.

"The show will feature a variety of work from paintings, oil and watercolor, to hand-made prints to sculptures and jewelry," said FAB member and past president Karol Smith. "There is something for everyone." The FAB Spring Show will feature more than 100 pieces on display and for sale.

The show will also feature works of art from local high school students. The students’ work will be judged with prizes presented to the winners, including a matching amount that will be given to the student’s art teacher for supplies for the classroom.

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Knoxville worked with the Tennessee Arts Commission to award FAB a grant to help fund the spring show and student art exhibit.

The awards ceremony for the students will be 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.

The members’ show will have two components for judging. In addition to a People’s Choice award, which will be chosen by those visiting the art show, the member show is being judged by Nashville artist Victoria Boone, director of the Leu Art Gallery at Belmont University. On Saturday, April 28, Boone will offer a member workshop, "The Business or Art."

The workshop is just one of the many benefits of being a member of the non-profit organization. FAB is dedicated to supporting the fine arts in the Blount community. Members are listed on the FAB roster and are eligible to show their works at FAB events and venues. Members apply and submit their work and, three times a year, the FAB commission meets to jury in new members.

"We’ve gone from a handful of members to over 30 exhibiting members," said FAB president, Suzanne Stockfish.

FAB also has a variety of memberships for art lovers. Memberships are tax-deductible and include invitations to openings such as the Patron’s Night at the Blount County Library on Friday, April 27, which is being sponsored by Ruby Tuesday’s.

Other sponsors of the Spring Show are Quality Financial Concepts, The Flower Shop, Blount Today and Denso. Denso purchased display screens for the high school show and each participating school gets to keep the screens to use at their schools after the event.

In addition to being a venue for members to showcase their works, FAB members are involved in helping the community through the arts. Members speak at area schools, provide demonstrations and workshops in the area and help at-risk students through their ArtReach program.

"We want to support art in the schools," Stockfish said.

One of FAB’s goals is to educate community members on the value of art in the community, Karol Smith said. She said that art brings vitality to the community because it is important in building creativity in thinking. Problem solving is an advantage that comes from art that some people do not recognize or understand, Smith said.

"Our goal is reaching kids who are the next generation of people who appreciate and love art," Smith said. She said ArtReach serves more than 300 students during the school year.

FAB volunteers teach after school classes to students through the Richard Williams Leadership Academy. "Kids have responded really well creatively," Smith said of the students’ creations, some of which will be featured in the Spring Show.

Future projects in the ArtReach program will incorporate other subjects such as math and reading, Smith said. The program has a mentoring aspect with students working one-on-one with FAB volunteers. Area sponsors such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and BankEast help monetarily with the funding of materials used in ArtReach.

FAB is also looking towards the future. A fundraiser, "Art on the Runway," is planned for May that will feature a fashion show, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Umbrellas painted by FAB artists will be up for auction. Proceeds from this event will go towards the funding of an art center for FAB.

"The most interesting thing is that the community will see the high quality of original artwork in the show," Smith said of the spring show.

FAB’s Spring Members’ Show begins at the meeting rooms in the Blount County Library, 508 North Cusick St., on Friday, April 27 for patron’s night. The show continues on Saturday during the library’s normal hours and concludes on Sunday,
April 29, from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

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