14th annual ART Prowl means business

COOKEVILLE – Local artists are gearing up for the 14th annual ART Prowl with support from a familiar underwriter and several new stops on a tour that highlights local artists, new businesses and community involvement.

For the second year, the WestSide Business Association has signed on as the primary underwriter for ART Prowl, which takes place noon-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, on Cookeville’s WestSide and other nearby locations.

“We are so excited that this year, once again, the Art Prowl is focusing so much attention on the WestSide,” said Allan Stingley, WestSide Business Association president. “All the shops and restaurants on the WestSide create a fun atmosphere for ‘prowlers’ to enjoy and our small business owners are always thrilled with the foot traffic that Art Prowl brings to our businesses. It’s the largest event on the WestSide each year and we believe in the value and benefit to our region of having such a wonderful event held on our front doorsteps.”

According to ART Round Tennessee’s (ART) Executive Director, Marilee Hall, this continued support conveys a strengthening of the partnership between WestSide businesses and the local art community.

“It is deeply gratifying to see the commitment from our local sponsors and underwriters grow,” Hall said. “Supporters who have given over the years tend to increase donations and support, which encourages other local businesses to do the same. Art is at the heart of business and creativity the root of all entrepreneurism.”

This year’s event begins at the ART Prowl welcome center at Charity’s Bake Shop located at 11 N. Oak Ave., where prowlers can pick up maps and purchase ART Prowl T-shirts. The route includes new stops, giving the public the opportunity to check out local businesses such as the Blue Rooster Canteen, Gentleman’s Barber, the History Museum, Synergy, WCTE-TV lobby and Poet’s Coffee.

Additional locations are also on the tour at various businesses, studios and homes nearby and are included on the Prowl map. ART Prowl is the key fundraiser for ART Round Tennessee and is funded in part by a grant from the Cookeville Arts Council. ART’s overall mission is to advocate for and promote visual arts and artists in the Upper Cumberland. Within ART, marketing efforts are always geared toward “art as a career” and encouraging artists to see their art as a business.

“ART Prowl offers a unique opportunity for people in the Upper Cumberland to see what local artists are making and selling,” said John Sellberg, ceramic artist who will be showing at the Blue Rooster Canteen during the Prowl. “For any small business local support is crucial. ART Prowl brings the community together to celebrate and support a diverse group of artists who offer something for everyone by creating one-of-a-kind handmade work.”

Being involved in ART Prowl is certainly about showing work and making money but to many ART Prowl artists there is a deeper connection and responsibility in regard to ART Prowl’s mission within the community.

“I initially became involved with ART Prowl because I wanted a local venue to show my work,” said ceramic artist and owner of Addled Hill Pottery, Susan Moore. “The more involved I have become, I realize I can be the change

I want to see in my community by exposing more people to fantastic local art and getting them excited about it. Cookeville is growing in such a positive direction and I attribute that in part to its continuing support of the arts.”

ART Prowl benefits both artists and businesses by promoting tourism and inviting people to experience Cookeville’s art scene and local fare.

“Cookeville’s historic WestSide means several things to the people of the Upper Cumberland and nothing more notable than the hub for art, artists and a wonderful outlet for creative expression,” Stingley said. “Be one of the thousands who enjoy this rich, cultural tradition and come ‘Take A Walk On The WestSide’ and enjoy Art Prowl 2014.”

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