Art gallery opens in basement of Plaza

The Church Street entrance to the Preservation Plaza not only reveals an illuminating fountain but a fresh gallery for Blount County artists. Inside, a stealthy black door of the safe sits quietly between Diann Lewis-Bishop’s water-color and Katie Gamble’s en plein air series of downtwon Maryville to remind guests of the building’s original purpose.

Broadway Galleries held its grand opening on Oct. 23. Although the first floor of the Plaza hosts artwork for the Last Fridays Art Walk, the basement became Maryville’s most recent non-profit permanent gallery for local artists and students from University of Tennessee and Maryville College.

“There is such an interest in the community for the arts so this offers a great venue for artists to offer a collection at a time,” said Teresa Horn, owner of Preservation Plaza.

Katie Kinney, local artist and building manager of the Plaza, owns Broadway Galleries. She seems confident in the community’s art scene and hopes her gallery will nurture local students and usher more art to downtown.

“Our goal at some point in time is to see historic downtown Maryville become like Clinton is with antiques. We’re about the art,” said Kinney.

On opening night, women displayed their collections of artwork throughout the narrow hallway that allows guests to glide by the artwork and converse comfortably. Kinney decided on the theme of local, award-winning female artists, including Lewis-Bishop, Gamble, Susan Birdwell, and Gloria Nelson.

Leanne Moe, student at University of Tennessee, displayed her ceramics at the gallery. Moe operates Studio 212 on Harper Avenue and serves as a board member for the Maryville Arts Coalition. “We (Maryville) are really starting to get a name ourselves” stated Moe.

Visitor to the gallery, Karen Brackett, sat gleaming at the artwork during the show. “I am so excited,” said Brackett, local artist and coordinator of Fine Arts Blount. “I am seeing this vision that I had as a teenager come to life.”

Brackett takes pride in Blount County whose art scene allows for galleries like Kinney’s to thrive. Broadway Galleries opens from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and remains open until 9 p.m. for Last Fridays Art Walk.

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