Cookeville art gallery announces it will close

COOKEVILLE – Citing financial reasons, Cookeville art gallery, ART a la carte, is closing its doors.

The decision was announced this week by the board of directors of Art Round Tennessee (ART) and Arlene Dubo, gallery director. In a release, officials said the gallery received “much support from a dedicated group of patrons and friends,” but in the long run there “did not appear to be enough support to continue as currently organized.”

March will be its last month in business.

ART a la carte has represented more than 40 professional and emerging local artists, many of them renowned locally, nationally and internationally. The gallery, located across from the Cookeville Depot Museum at 121 W. Broad St., in the thick of the historic WestSide district, “exuded charm,” the release said, and Dubo has “always been fiercely dedicated to representing the artists in the best way possible.” ART a la carte won a 2013 Ovation Award from the Upper Cumberland Business Journal for “Excellence in Tourism Promotion.” Its many art shows, viewings and live musical performances proved to bring life – and new visitors – to that WestSide address.

In 2014, ART a la carte became an affiliate of Art Round Tennessee (ART), a non-profit corporation dedicated to the arts in Cookeville. As an affiliate of ART, ART a la carte will continue serving artists and the community. According to executive director Marilee Hall, that will include an upcoming workshop series titled “ARTalong!,” artist talks and salons, in addition to themed exhibitions and high energy pop-up shows.

“We have so much to offer this community, and it is important that our organization continues to help our area artists to develop and thrive,” Hall said. “They are truly a precious resource of the Upper Cumberland or any area lucky enough to have them. We will continue building interest, adding committed members and patrons from the ground up, knowing that our cause is great and the sky’s the limit. Another gallery is in our future.”

ART a la carte has two final events planned for March. The first, a solo guitar night, takes place Saturday, March 15, featuring Tom Torrisi from Austin Peay State University. The performance is from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person and is BYOB. Seating is limited.

The last event at the gallery will be the closing party and fifth annual Spring Equinox Art Show from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 21. 

“We are celebrating four great years that ART a la carte made a difference in the Cookeville art scene. We are also celebrating great art happenings to come,” Arlene said.

Dubo looks forward to returning to her studio, she said; the decision to close ART a la carte means she’ll now have the opportunity to paint full-time.

“This has been a life affirming decision for me,” she said. “This was the best job ever, even without pay. The art talks with artists and patrons, the live music events, the socials, the time spent with the art, the comments from patrons who experienced the art and the gallery events – priceless!”

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