Drumroll, please... The Franklin County Arts Guild is excited to announce that The Secret Commonwealth will once again be entertaining the crowd at Arts & Ales on February 17. The band, known for its rollicking Celtic-inspired vibe, is a favorite of locals and venues far and wide. Influenced by The Pogues, The Chieftains, and traditional Irish pub bands, The Secred Commonwealth’s music mixes original material with traditional music and many styles of American and European folk.
The Secret Commonwealth has been described as a party that turned into a band. During their initial run from 1993-2003, the band played pubs, clubs, private events, and conventions, plus Celtic, International, and Americana music festivals. Their annual St. Patrick's Day shows in Murfreesboro have resulted in a packed house every year. They also recorded three albums: a self-titled debut in 1997, “The Uninvited Guest” (2002) a concept album collecting their many Halloween and supernatural-tinged original songs, and “Last Call,” which was released on St. Patrick’s Day of 2013.
Arts & Ales is the major annual fundraiser of the Franklin County Arts Guild. The Guild promotes arts, crafts, and art education in Franklin County and the surrounding area. It creates opportunities for member artists to show and to sell their work in its gallery, the Artisan Depot, as well as at other local events.
by Frances Perea
It's almost the start of a brand new year, and I would like to take a little time to thank the many, many people who help keep the Franklin County Arts Guild and Artisan Depot Gallery & Gift Shop thriving. No one is paid to do the jobs they willingly do; we are truly a volunteer organization. We are open four days a week, and it takes 16 people a month to keep the gallery doors open. Thank you to all of you who staff the gallery, greet customers, and do the clean-up chores that keep the gallery looking spiffy and special Thanks to Carol VandenBosch, for creating the work calendar every month and emailing to workers. Carol is very diligent in assuring the gallery is always open and occasionally has to juggle people around at the last minute to accommodate emergencies. We are very fortunate to have Carol.
The gallery could not operate smoothly without our very capable and devoted Gallery Coordinator Margie Gallagher. Margie oversees the entire gallery and works with all the artists, addressing issues and concerns. She is also the contact person for other volunteers who have specific roles in the gallery. She is responsible for assuring that information is communicated to all its members and that the gallery runs smoothly on a day to day basis. Margie chairs the monthly gallery meetings & creates an agenda. She has also attained several grants that have made it possible to promote gallery and guild projects. Recently, a goal of creating a Student Gallery has been achieved. Thanks to her efforts and to work undertaken by Cowan Development and Mark Ledbetter, remodeling has now been completed with a new door opening and bright beautiful room in which to display student and other art as well as ongoing art workshops. Margie also serves on the FCAG board & is very active in the FCAG Arts & Ales scholarship fundraising event. There are many other organizational jobs that Margie is in charge of. Thank you Margie. Because of your efforts, the gallery has grown in leaps and bounds.
Nancy Wallace and Pippa Browne have volunteered time to hang the community shows this past year. AnnaKathryn Anderson and Ken Gould have been responsible for displaying work on the floor. Pippa is now also helping with assuring the work on the floor and paintings on the wall are displayed properly, and she sets up the community shows. More recently, Pippa spearheaded an effort to re-arrange the wall space so that artists now have control over their own space and can replace work or re-arrange art as they wish. As a result, the gallery now has a more professional and fresh new look that visitors have commented on. For the past two years, Pippa has also generously allowed the Artisan Depot's Travelling Art in a Trunk to exhibit work at her home and studio for the annual Sewanee Holiday Studio Tour, and this has been a very successful venue for the gallery. Pippa is a great asset to our gallery.
Our Publicity Coordinator is Patricia Richards Bishop. Pat is doing a superb job of coordinating publicity for the Guild and gallery. Her job includes monthly submissions to newspapers and other media about our gallery shows and other events, posting regularly on Facebook, contributing to the Guild and gallery website, keeping up with email contact lists, and overseeing other PR volunteers. Pat is always full of positive energy and always has good ideas about how to make improvements.
Kim Phillips is a talented website designer and has created a very professional site for the Guild and gallery. Kim is responsible for blog updates, email blasts, as well as postings of new information on Facebook pages. The website is an important information hub accessible to volunteers and the public at large. Kim is also in charge of postcard mailings announcing community shows and other events. Kim took over the postcard job from Judy Grealis. We are very glad to have Kim on our team.
Diana Lamb is the Reception Coordinator, and her responsibility is to purchase food, drinks, paper plates, etc. for each of the community shows. Diana is also responsible for set-up and cleaning after every show. Her creative displays of refreshments always draw compliments from guests. She is also in charge of purchasing office and cleaning supplies. Other roles that Diana plays, along with Frances Perea, are helping and setting up the Travelling Art in a Trunk for the Winchester Wriggle, Southern TN Ladies Holiday Market, Trails & Trilliums, and the Sewanee Studio Tour. This year they were also involved with the Farm to Table venue that included works from members of the gallery.
The gallery garden has come back to life from the devoted efforts of Alida Morgan, who has spearheaded and donated many hours of time and physical labor in planting beautiful flowers, nurturing them, and pulling weeds. She has fretted, wondered and worried whether the plants would survive. The garden is a delightful place due to her efforts and that of one or two other volunteers.
Many thanks are due to Mark Ledbetter who contributes a great deal of time and effort to implementing and assuring the success of the Arts & Ales event; he also is the person in charge of repairs at the gallery. Mark and other local musicians bring a different kind of venue to the gallery every Thursday evening with their open invitation to musicians to play with them. This event is free and always open to the public. Big thanks also to Cowan Development for working with FCAG to help provide gallery space all of these years. Their commitment to having a gallery for local artists in Cowan has been much appreciated by all and very important to the community.
The gallery now has an Art Supply Corner with opportunities to obtain art and craft materials for the cost of a donation. The Corner has been very popular and artists continue to make use of it as well as keeping the shelves well stocked with usable materials they no longer need. Thank you for your donations.
This past year we offered several art workshops at the gallery for the first time. The workshops were well received, and the gallery will continue to look for teachers and students who wish to participate.
This year the dream of creating an FCAG Scholarship Endowment became a reality thanks to the efforts of Anna Kathryn Anderson, Nancy Wallace, and Margie Gallagher. This will assure that a scholarship, given to a deserving Franklin County High School graduate pursuing the arts at a university or college, will be available in perpetuity. The scholarship started as a dream and was kept alive by some of our longest standing members, Dwain and Joyce Adams, Anna Kathryn Anderson, Nancy Wallace, and Pat Underwood. We are grateful for their many years of service to our art community. Through their leadership, we have been able to thrive, to achieve dreams, and to arrive at a positive place in our growth with the opportunity to leave something for those who come after.
Special thanks to the FCAG board members past and present who continue to serve as volunteers and continue to nurture its growth with special events such as the Arts & Ales Scholarship Fundraiser. They also oversee the Artisan Depot gallery, assuring that artists have a place to show and sell their art aand crafts. Presently the board members are President, Nancy Wallace; Vice President, Joe Butler; Secretary, Margie Gallagher; Treasurer, Denise Miller; PR Pat Richards Bishop.
It would be hard to list every person who has volunteered their time, energy, and resources since the inception of the Guild in the 1970s I believe, but throughout the many years, each and everyone made it possible for the Guild to achieve its goals, to grow, to mature and continue to serve the art community to the present day. Thank you all!
Would you like to volunteer? Let us know. As you can see, it takes many people to keep our Guild and gallery thriving. Let us know what you can do to help. Even small things matter. Maybe you have some special skill you would like to share, or maybe you can help out at receptions or other events. Maybe you can greet people at the door occasionally. Maybe you can pull weeds in the garden. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated. Contact us here or email email@example.com
Editor's Note: Frances Perea has been a steady and driving force for the Guild, not only as an artist exhibiting in the gallery, but also in making the Art Supply Corner a reality, working with the traveling art trunk, posting to Facebook, and arranging for workshops. The Guild owes her a huge thanks.
Volunteers would love a thank you in recognition of their contributions if you would like to leave one!
What's going on in the Gallery, with shows, artists, and events.