Monday, May 11, 2009

Tell me a story in the Tennessean

Tour guide takes artistic approach to history at Belmont Mansion

She's an antebellum action figure by day, but also Twist Gallery curator and artist-in-residence at the Downtown Presbyterian Church. It's no wonder it has taken Beth Gilmore a while to get her installation of prints, cut paper and portraits ready for exhibit at Belmont Mansion.

Gilmore has spent most of her adult life working at the mansion, where she has portrayed Adelicia Acklen, the Belmont matriarch, as well as many of her contemporaries. She has also found inspiration for her art.

Set in an Acklen's bedroom — which remains un-restored and is normally off-limits to visitors — Tell Me a Story includes over-size paper doilies and prints featuring images (portraits and other items) Gilmore found throughout the mansion.

"In giving tours and in making art both, I hope to tell stories in two different ways," Gilmore says. "Here, I get to bring together two different parts of my life, two different worlds for me and for my audience."

Tell Me a Story opens with a reception 5-9 p.m. today at Belmont Mansion, 1900 Belmont Blvd. The installation remains on view through May 15. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission fee for the opening; normal admission runs from $3 to $10. For information, call 460-5459 or go to