COOKEVILLE – Art Round Tennessee (ART) will present the 16th annual ART Prowl Nov. 11-12 – featuring Upper Cumberland area artists, artwork, demonstrations, free kids’ activities and neighborhood fun in the heart of Cookeville.
ART is a non-profit organization that connects emerging and experienced artists with the local community by providing opportunities to enjoy art first-hand. As ART’s flagship event, ART Prowl takes visitors on a mostly walkable tour through the streets of historic WestSide and downtown Cookeville, exploring studios, galleries, and pop-up art exhibits in local businesses.
In this interesting and challenging career path, many ART Prowl artists have by necessity become their own bosses, their own agents and their own labels. They practice design, production, marketing and accounting and can rightfully claim the title, “Artrepreneur.” While some are self-taught, these artists are often supported by higher education or an apprentice program. They are creatively qualified in their techniques while simultaneously striving to develop a sustainable venture.
ART artist Amanda Brannon majored in graphic design and spent the earlier part of her career in publication design before focusing on clay board engraving.
“I am doing what I love and building on that for my future,” she said. “The trick is to adjust your lifestyle…in order to have a good life.”
Artists typically dedicate extensive hours toward creating. It’s not just a job; it’s a way of life, a passion, an outlet and a necessity. They are a true representation of the “American Dream” that every citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work and initiative.
Traditional techniques and skills remain important, but artists today are required to think about more than just the quality of their work.
Wood sculptor and proprietor of Bark Studio Brad Sells explains, “Being creative is a part, but alone it will not guarantee success.” This shift in art culture is evident at ART Prowl where collectibles are made available by the creator for the customer. The event provides art enthusiasts with an experience that cannot be matched in any commercial store. The effort presented in an artist space goes beyond the merchandise with thoughtful presentation and meaningful exchanges between creator and shopper. Participants and attendees mingle, share ideas, and above all else, support the arts together as a community.
ART Prowl is the perfect opportunity to shop directly from the maker. Dialogue between artist and collector becomes part of the exchange and a personal experience takes shape.
Linda Johnson, who is returning to ART Prowl with her sculpture, says, “It is difficult to put a price on the impact your work has on your community. Sharing who you are is what makes life worth living.”
The artist who capitalizes on opportunities, presented by organizations such as ART, makes connections with local shoppers, ambitious collectors, and tourists alike. Tourists are known to schedule around and prolong trips in order to attend art events. Visitors are more likely to discover new artists through these positive experiences. The economical benefits are multi-fold as these types of shoppers may eat at local restaurants, stay in local hotels, and buy local goods.
The network of artistry presented at ART Prowl is only part of the story. Artists connect with local businesses who serve as community partners. Realtor Susan Hogan claims “the entire first floor [of American Way Real Estate] is like an art gallery [featuring local artists]. Our agents, staff and clients like the look.”
Artists and other professionals establish ties and learn how to work with each other to reach common goals. Mutually beneficial for both parties, a group of about 10 business owners agree to share their space with artists during the Prowl. The historic WestSide becomes saturated with foot traffic, and revenue flows directly back into the community. Where businesses normally function independently from each other, the space becomes an active social scene flowing from one business to the next. The businesses gain exposure, build upon a positive reputation, and connect with more patrons.
Hours for ART Prowl are noon–8 p.m. Nov. 11 and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Nov. 12. Children are encouraged to attend and participate in free creative activities. The complete schedule and map of locations will be made available in the official ART Prowl brochure and on the website.
For more information about Art Round Tennessee and its artist members, visit www.artroundtennessee.org.