Mark Jackson, "The Once Over", Acrylic

“A Taste of Art” Celebrates Murfreesboro Gallery


By Suzanne LeBeau

The Murfreesboro Art League recently hosted “A Taste of Art” in their gallery at the back of Cannonsburgh Historic Village. It was evident the moment you walked through the door that everything had been arranged with an artistic eye. From the hand painted signs at the entryway to the bouquets and food arrays, colorful displays were everywhere.

“One of the reasons we are hosting this event,” stated Nanette Mathe, league president, “is that many of the people that live in the Murfreesboro area don’t even know that we exist.” She continued, “Most of our weekend visitors are people who are visiting Cannonsburgh from out of state. They are here mostly to see the historic buildings, and stumbling upon the MAL art gallery tucked at the back is just a happy accident.”

Of course, the main reason to host the event was simply to share the love of art with the community. Patrons of the arts enjoyed strolling around the displays and silent auction with the soulful jazz music of the Reverend Ernest Newsom on his saxophone drifting gently in the background. Many stopped to listen to the artists tell their stories behind certain paintings or sculptures. As artist Claire Smith put it, “I was at the end of the universe and saw a wall. I decided to climb over it, and that’s where I get my inspiration for my pieces.”

Mayor Tommy Bragg and his wife Jeannie Bragg were one of the first couples to arrive. They enjoyed talking with long-time members Ruth Criner and Clarice Nelson, founder of the league. Glenn and Angela Merchant, of Moxie Art Supply, got some information on the artists and discussed upcoming classes, both at the MAL gallery and their own studio. “We artists need to support each other,” noted Mr. Merchant.

Caterer Katie Plummer had her hands full as she and helpers scurried to keep trays of chocolate covered strawberries, fruit, cheese, and quiche filled. One of the favorites was hand-made brownies with various choices of icing. Next year, the addition of wine tasting to the menu will be yet another way to perk up patrons’ taste buds.



The silent auction brought in some much-needed funds for MAL’s children’s programs. Some of the people who left early were probably saddened to hear that they were outbid on fabulous pieces of jewelry, paintings, and photographic prints.

The MAL group is trying to help students enjoy art through weekend art activities, which include a station where kids can make their own greeting card as their parents view the art works on display. “Sometimes the kids view the paintings at a much faster pace than their parents, so this gives the parents a little extra time to enjoy the art, rather than just rushing through,” stated Bobbie Bittner, a frequent weekend volunteer. The gallery is open on Saturdays from 10-4 and on Sundays from 1-4 except during special private events at Cannonsburgh. In addition to the weekend projects, the art league hosts summer art camps for kids and is putting together a mural program with area schools, which is still in the planning phase.

Phyllis Razo, league treasurer and one of the teachers of the summer art camp for children mentioned, “We are trying to keep our camp prices low, so that interested students can attend no matter what their financial situation is.” The art league is sponsoring two different camps this summer. One will be at the Sam Davis Home in Smyrna from July 9-13, and the other will be at our gallery at Cannonsburgh Historic Village from July 16-20. Both camps will have a morning session from 9-12 for students entering grades 4-6, as well as an afternoon session from 1-4 for students entering grades 7-9. The cost of registration is only $60 for the full week and includes a sketch pad and all painting supplies.

For more information on camps, contact Suzanne at

Murfreesboro Art League Blog

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