The West Tennessee Artisan Trail artists are developing shows and tourism for West Tennessee, with their opening summer show, Summertime Livin’ Easy Arty Party, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 25 at Fleur de Lee Restaurant in Jackson.
“We’ve had great interest in the West Tennessee Artisan Trail,” said Vice-president Wanda Stanfill, local sculptor. “One of our goals is to make it easier for juried artisans to show and sell in West Tennessee and to keep those tax dollars here, rather than see our artists go to other states.”
“Our first pop-up show was held last year in June at Fleur-de-Lee and was not only a fun day for those who attended but a good sales day for the artisans. This year, inside the restaurant we’re offering authors, theater and music,” said Stanfill. “It’s an excellent venue for art, authors and theater.”
The Summertime Livin’ Easy Arty Party at Fleur de Lee Restaurant, 1143 Rushmeade Road in Jackson will open with artisans at 11 a.m. that include Allison East’s illustrations and art, Tim Pace’s metalworks, Wanda Stanfill’s sculpture, Jan Strickland’s pottery and jewelry, Hattie Duncan’s sculpture, Andrew Clark’s pottery, Greg Phillips’ woodturning, Jesse Hillman’s photography and Jacque Hillman’s jewelry, among others.
Inside the restaurant, “Tales, Tunes, Talent and Cocktails” will begin at 12:30 p.m. Regional authors will share stories at 30 minute intervals, leading with historian and storyteller Harbert Alexander Sr., “Soldiers, Saints & Sinners,” 12:30 p.m.;
Jocelyn Wurzburg, “Jocie’s Stories,” 1 p.m.; Paula Casey, “The Perfect 36,” 1:30 p.m.; Jennifer Rawls, “The Vote,” 2 p.m.; character actress and theater director Becky Fly, 2:30 p.m.; the Jackson Theatre Guild, songs from “Guys and Dolls,” 3 p.m.; jazz music, 3:30 p.m. The afternoon concludes with
author Dr. Niles Reddick
from 4 to 5 p.m. telling tales from his latest book, “Drifting Too Far From the Shore.” There is no charge to attend. Payment for food and drinks will be taken inside the restaurant.
“Don’t you just love southern traditions? I hope this event turns into one for Jackson,” said Becky Fly, who is directing “Guys and Dolls” for the summer Jackson Theatre Guild production.
“It would be best to call the restaurant for reservations set about 45 minutes prior to the session you plan to attend to be certain you have seats and are served in order to hear your favorite author or to hear the Jackson Theatre Guild perform,” said restaurant owner Dr. Laura Nord. Call (731) 736-4500 for reservations.
“We’re presenting our new menu as well,” said Executive Chef Kiah Darion. The new menu includes such items as Fried Green Tomato BLTA with Caramelized Wild Sockeye Salmon, Summer Chopped Caprese Salad with Grilled Naan, Shrimp and Grits. And the new restaurant hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to p.m., open for lunch and dinner.
The West Tennessee Artisan Trail artisans have been juried into previous shows and their works include pottery, paintings, jewelry, sculpture, woodturning, photography, textiles, folk arts and metal-crafting. The first 20 charter members formed the organization in 2015, and they created three pop-up art shows, including a “trail” event on Dec. 5 inviting visitors to the artists’ studios and homes. Members, who are also committed to other major national shows, are asked to participate in one-third of the WTAT shows.
In 2016, the group has nine shows planned, some partnering with other events, such as the UT Summer Celebration, which will have 44 booths along with workshops on plants and landscaping, at the West Tennessee Research & Education Center off Airways Boulevard in Jackson on July 14, and the Exchange Club/Carl Perkins Center’s Toast of Jackson at Jackson Fairgrounds on July 23.
“We are excited to participate this year in Summer Celebration and look forward to growing with this event. It is exciting to participate in a celebration that not only showcases an association of talented cultivators, but also features a variety of great artisans from the West Tennessee community.” said Andrew Boks, secretary of the organization and an abstract artist who owns ArtBoks Studio and Gallery at 314 E. Main St. in downtown Jackson.
Allison East, artist, illustrator and jewelry designer, said all the WTAT members are excited about the group’s growth.
“The West Tennessee Artisan Trail is such a unique and diverse group of talented artisans right here in our area,” East said. “We are thrilled to be able to bring an aspect of local artwork to our community and surrounding areas. Thanks to our president’s and charter members’ hard work, we are planning big and exciting events for our community in the near future, particularly during the holiday seasons.”
“We anticipate a huge draw of folks from all over to come to see and know the place we all live, love and work, and it is our joy to be able to share that in original and creative ways,” East added.
WTAT is recruiting new members with a goal of 80, annual dues of $50, and all artisans applying must present five images of their work and a booth shot that will be juried, plus have a recommendation letter from a charter member. WTAT will file as a 501 (c3) non-profit, in order to apply for grants. The educational component includes helping young college graduate artisans with their first shows and helping them learn to market, price and sell – the business of art.
The WTAT artisans have studied large, highly successful shows which incorporate not only visual arts but performing arts, including theater, music and authors reading from their works, or telling tales. Art “streets” at these shows are divided into fine arts, crafts and flea market “buys.”
“We want to have a West TN Artisan Trail map that continues showing new artists and studios. We’re also posting with the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Jackson Arts Council,” said Libby Lynch, jewelry artist and metal-crafter, who owns Bangles, Baubles & Imagination. “We want people who love art to come see – and buy — the wonderful artworks created by our West Tennessee artisans.”
On the Internet:
Facebook and www.westtennesseeartisantrail.com