This mostly walkable tour of art studios and pop-up galleries highlights the 25-plus professional artists who display and sell their work, as well as the sponsoring businesses that open up their spaces for the event. Cookeville’s downtown districts provide the perfect backdrop for this synergistic union of art, business and tourism in the Upper Cumberland.
“ART Prowl is such a great community art event,” Karen Short, ART Prowl interim director, said. “It brings together local artists and the public in a way that encourages interaction, curiosity and important dialogue about the arts in Cookeville. We’re so grateful to all of our sponsors and community ‘pARTners’ for their continued support. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer this free event to the community.”
For the third year, Cookeville’s WestSide Business Association is the primary underwriter of the ART Prowl. Support is also received from a group of sponsors from retail, service, tourist, professional and non-profit sectors, creating a powerful coalition, Short said. The depth of support reflects the broad reach
of ART Prowl in particular and the arts in general in the community. Art is good for the soul and good for business, bringing in many visitors to the area for this popular weekend event.
“CityScape is proud of the ART Prowl, and we are so supportive of their efforts to bring art enthusiasts to our WestSide,” said Laura Wolf, executive director of CityScape, an organization that partners with public and private partners to revilize downtown. “Cookeville and CityScape have done an incredible job of continually changing the face of our downtown area and are excited to showcase our historic assets. The WestSide Merchants continue to put on excellent events, such as Wine On the West Side and the
ART Prowl, which keep our community vibrant while exposing new visitors to compelling experiences.”
ART Prowl has shown consistent growth over its 15-year existence, garnering more sponsorship and greater participation with each passing year. Along with business sponsorship, much of this artful success can be attributed to the event’s parent organization, Art Round Tennessee (ART). Established in 2007, ART is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and expanding the arts in the Upper Cumberland community.
“ART Prowl is ART’s flagship event, but in recent years we have expanded our offerings to more fully serve the community,” said Marilee Hall, ART executive director. “Art enriches the community – we deeply believe that. We encourage and support creative self- expression, starting with our artists and reaching out into the community to creative minds of all ages.”
As a 501(c)3 non-profit, ART is eligible for grant funding that was previously unavailable. The ARTalong workshop series has benefitted from two years of Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC) funding via the Arts Build Communities (ABC) grant program. The ABC grant is a good example of growth enabled by 501(c)3 status; it is also exciting and affirming to receive support from the TAC. ARTalong gives ART Prowl artists the ability to extend the reach of their talents through the teaching of hands-on workshops, allowing them to improve their teaching skills, bolster their artist income, and share their talents with aspiring artists in our community. ART was again successful in receiving a TAC ABC grant in 2015, which will facilitate the third ARTalong series in spring 2016. According to ARTalong administrator Arlene Dubo, the workshops taught by professional artists “successfully provide participants a direct experience with the creative process in an atmosphere that is artistically charged.”
ART also recently initiated a series of professional practices workshops for member artists, beginning with short courses in social media, photography, marketing and communications. More workshops are planned to help artists sharpen the skills necessary to conduct the business of art today.
On Nov. 13-14, guests are again invited to visit the ART Prowl welcome center at Charity’s Bake Shop located at 11 N. Oak Ave., where Prowlers can view artwork, pick up brochures and maps, purchase ART Prowl T-shirts, and receive directions and information from ART Prowl volunteers. The route includes a few new stops, including the recently opened Magical Muse Gallery on North Cedar. During the two-day event, numerous community pARTners will offer discounts, specials and exclusive activities to Prowl participants.
For more information and updates on ART Prowl 2015, visit artprowl.com or find ART Prowl on Facebook.