May’s Art Walk offers variety of local talents

Preserving the natural beauty of Blount County will be the focus of the Southland Books exhibit during Last Friday Art Walk this month. In addition to the exhibit and educational opportunities for the public, Southland Books is donating proceeds from a book signing and art sales to benefit the Foothills Land Conservancy.

Maryville Arts Coalition executive director Katie Gamble said this month one of the biggest events of the Last Friday Art Walk will be going on at Southland Books, 801 E. Broadway Ave., with the Foothills Land Conservancy benefit. “They’re doing a whole lot. There will be a book signing with the money going to the land conservancy,” Gamble said. “RaRa Schlitt will have work there, and 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of her works goes to the Foothills Land Conservancy. I think it is going to be a really good event.”

This is the second fundraiser Southland Books and local publishing company 27/37 has held for the Foothills Land Conservancy. They will donate 20 percent of all sales from the following titles: Ole Bert: Bert Garner, Sage of the Smokies (5.5 x 8.5” trade paperback, 148 pages) $15; The White Caps: A History of the Organization in Sevier County (6” x 9” trade paperback, 144 pages) $17.95; 1926 Maryville/Alcoa City Directory (5.5” x 8.5” trade paperback, 112 pages) $10; Among Loyal Mountaineers: The Civil War Reminiscences of an East Tennessee Unionist, (6” x 9” trade paperback, 160 pages) $20.

Gail Palmer will also be on hand to sell her DVD Sacred Places of the Smokies with 20 percent of the night’s profits going to the Foothills Land Conservancy. Information about this CD can be found at

In addition to the book and CD proceeds, there were other ways the public can support land protection during the fundraiser. For example, Bailey Lombardo, the 8-year-old daughter of 27/37 co-owner Andy Lombardo, plans to donate proceeds from her Grand Ol’ Lemonade Stand to Foothills Land Conservancy.

April’s Last Friday Art Walk brought out sculpture lovers for a particular treat, Gamble said. Overall, Gamble said the April Last Friday Art Walk featuring the Eco-Sculpture competition was a success. “I thought the April Art Walk turned out to be wonderful. We had beautiful weather. With all this rain going on we had a little ray of sunshine and that was nice,” she said. “The community really embraced it and enjoyed it. Now that we have an idea of what we hope to accomplish with the Eco-Scupltures, we hope it will grow and pick up for next year.”

Gamble said the children and adults both enjoyed the Community Teepee, a non-competitive part of the Eco-Sculpture competition. A teepee frame was set up and members of the public used recycled materials to complete the teepee.

Gamble was enthusiastic about the line up for May’s Last Friday Art Walk.

At Razberries, comtemporary abstract painter Elizabeth Smith will showcase her painting and photography.

Fine Arts Blount will have their exhibit at their ArtSpace gallery. “They’re also showcasing the Arts in Park competition winners. If some people didn’t come out in April because of the rain during the competition, they can check that out,” Gamble said.

Gamble said the Village Tinker at 417 East Broadway Ave. is a new addition to Art Walk. “We’re really excited to have the Village Tinker participate in Art Walk. They’re a little further out but we hope everyone will check them out,” Gamble said. “That artist is Terri Reynolds. She does beautiful carved gourd sculptures.”

Gamble said the Last Friday Art Walk is growing because of the volunteers and organizers who are working to always make it a consistently good event, even during the holidays when participation can sometimes drop. “It’s important. We feel we’re doing the right thing because people are coming out to support the artists,” Gamble said. “We really appreciate that, and we hope they continue to show their support and come out and enjoy the arts.”

This month’s exhibits include:

At the Arts.Alive Gallery, paintings by Lyda Plemons will be featured.

At Southland Books - work by Andy Lombardo, RaRa Schlitt and Gail Palmer will benefit the Foothills Land Conservancy.

Razberries will showcase paintings and photography by Elizabeth Smith.

At Canvas Hair Design, paintings by Jennifer Brickey will be showcased.

Boyd Thomas Clothing will highlight paintings by Suzanne Terrill.

Tomato Head will feature works by Beth Meadows, including the painting “The Sound of a Train at Night.”

Capital Theater will feature music from the Streamliners Big Band.

Brackins Blues Club will have music by The Scissormen.

Fine Arts Blount ArtSpace will feature multiple medias with the “Picture the Words” group exhibit by members of FAB and the Arts in the Park competition winners in the upstairs portion of the gallery.

The Village Tinker host gourd sculptor Terri Reynolds.

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