Monday, August 30, 2010

links to Twist Art Gallery , especially while we are working on the website

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

sheep for babies i know

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

nashville scene review...Mitch O'Connell at Twist Art Gallery

Nashville Scene

Mitch O’Connell’s hilariously kitschy, tongue-in-cheek art sticks a pitchfork in the concepts of good, evil and everything in between

The Devil Made Him Do It

Practice Makes Perfect
Through Aug. 28 at Twist Art Gallery

At Twist Art Gallery's First Saturday Art Crawl reception on Aug. 7, four tattoo artists, outfitted in Mexican luchador masks, tattooed a woman in the middle of the gallery space. Artist Mitch O'Connell, armed with a blue Sharpie, drew ships and anchors onto the forearms of several art-savvy Nashvillians. It's this alliance between fine art and lowbrow culture that makes O'Connell a fitting choice for Twist's fourth anniversary show.

Twist is known for being inclusive, working from within the Nashville art community to build a haven for creativity. Artists like working with Twist owner Beth Gilmore because she doesn't put limits on them, and she respects the sometimes unusual process it takes to create a good show. "We want to go down that rabbit hole," she says.

The First Saturday Art Crawl has raised awareness of the caliber and scope of contemporary art here in Nashville, and its success is due in large part to Gilmore's emphasis on accessibility. Four years after downtown gallery owners began hosting simultaneous openings on the first Saturday of every month, Twist is the only Arcade gallery from the original roster still in operation. O'Connell's lighthearted and sardonic exhibit Practice Makes Perfect, on view through Aug. 28, is perfectly suited for the gallery's playfully anticlimactic celebration.

O'Connell creates art that makes fun of itself, wavering somewhere between sentiment and cynicism. His four "light" paintings appropriate images that are at once over-the-top and banal. Semitransparent photographs of idyllic waterfalls and streams are backed by motorized light boxes that, with the flip of a switch, provide faux flowing water and chirping bird sounds. O'Connell took the kitsch appeal that already existed in these flea market finds and magnified it by painting pink poodles on fire, rotary telephones and excessively cute dolls throwing dice down the falls.

This amalgamation of contradictory images roots O'Connell's work firmly in the tradition of pop surrealism and lowbrow art. His slick 1950s aesthetic is a perfect backdrop for surrealist imagery, partly because it was during this time that psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on dreams and the subconscious, was coming into vogue, but also due to the deeply repressed nature of mainstream American culture during the Baby Boom. Everything O'Connell borrows from this time period, from little girls praying at their beds to prepackaged salami, looks sickly sweet in a way that just doesn't exist in contemporary culture. Today the public is much more savvy — our advertisements are always winking back at us, but '50s consumer culture was never in on the joke.

These paintings are all about being Cool with a capital C. They're more attitude than commentary, more style than depth. Far from being a shortcoming, this Cool is the direct descendant of Dadaist social commentary and Warholian detachment. O'Connell is fully aware of this connection, and in "The Melting Man" even pays homage to one of the first pop artists, Richard Hamilton, with a nod to his Tootsie Pop-holding body builder.

But just try to find the art-history reference/reverence in "Jesus Sez, Satan Sez," a pair of toilet seats that O'Connell has painted into a joke about the eternal struggle between good and evil. On one, Jesus, with a raised stigmata-marked hand, asks that the user "leave the seat down." On the other, Satan winks and impishly implores the user to "leave the seat up." This gag is exemplary of the benign immorality that permeates O'Connell's work — he uses sinister imagery sarcastically, not to spook, but to subvert. All the evil is in quotation marks: In "Comb It Pretty," the devil is a man with a clueless expression wearing makeup; in "The Real Me," he's a kid from a Sears and Roebuck catalog modeling a Halloween costume. With "Satan Sez," O'Connell pokes fun at the idea of evil — leaving the toilet seat up will more likely result in a pissed-off wife than hellfire and damnation. You can almost hear the evil cackle coming from underneath the seat.

Filled with skulls, demons and scary clowns, O'Connell's art is undeniably funny. But his own ironic distancing from his subject matter is the real punch line. His paintings spill over with naked women — from flirty pinups to R. Crumb-like hyper-sexualized beasts — yet he's a well-mannered gentleman and proud father, not a lecherous playboy. Although he is celebrated among tattoo artists and aficionados, he remains ink-free. Though he's the center of attention at a crowded art gallery made up like a tattoo parlor, and though dozens of people proudly display their hand-drawn Mitch O'Connell tattoos on trips to adjoining galleries, O'Connell remains an underdog, influential but untouched, and above all, Cool.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ripple Effect : gallery F @ Scarritt Bennett

What happens when 26 artists play a game of “telephone”
with their art? When one artist creates a piece of art, and a second artist creates a piece of art in response to the first piece, and so on… ?

OPENING RECEPTION: Sat, August 21, 6 to 9p

Since July 5, French artist Corinne Spielewoy has been working in collaboration with 25 local artists to create a collection of interconnected pieces of art – in which one anchor piece of art has a gradually spreading influence on all of the others. In preparation for the opening of the exhibit, each artist was given three days to create a piece in response to the previous piece. The culmination of this cooperative effort will be featured in Ripple Effectwith a variety of media represented, including dance,
video, sculpture, and painting.

Inspired by the idea that it is vital for humans to be aware
of our connection to each other, Spielewoy’s goal is to bring
meaning back into human relationships through art projects
that encourage direct human contact. For more information
about Corinne Spielewoy and Ripple Effect, visit

GALLERY HOURS: Tues-Fri 9-6p • Sat-Sun 9a-4p


Participating artists: Corinne Spielewoy, Adrienne Bailey, Beth Gilmore, Brady Haston, Brandon Donahue, Channing Bailey, Erika Wollam Nichols, Erin Plew, Moses Williams, Iris Kleinschmidt, Jennifer Leach, Jessica Owings, Kristi Hargrove, Lesley Patterson, Mandy Horton, Matt Christy, Maya Moore, Matthew Simmons, Michael Osheroff, Patricia Earnhardt, Robert Bruce Scott, Robin Paris, Rocky Horton, Ron Lambert, Sabine Schlunk, Sara Estes, Jodi Hays

OPEN STUDIOS 3. ONE NIGHT ONLY - AUG 21, 6 - 9P gallery F’s artists-in-residence will open their studios for a tour during the opening reception. Stop in to see the work of Patricia Earnhardt, Sara Estes, Matt Christy, Jen Georgescu, Erin Plew, Adrienne Bailey, Channing Bailey and Sabine Schlunk. A surprise shuttle will be provided for transportation between gallery F. and the studios.

Download flier (pdf)
1000 19th Ave. S. (corner of Grand Ave. and 19th Ave. S.)

Confederate Cemetery Illuminated Walking Tour in Nashville, TN

Each year in Nashville, the ghosts of the Civil War return to relive their plight at the Confederate Cemetery Illuminated Walking Tour.
Every year, the dead come alive to re-tell history at the Mount Olivet Cemetery- each stationed at their "own" respectable graves.
This noted cemetary is home to over 1,500 Confederate graves, including seven prominent Confederate generals.
Re-enactors will appear at the graves of their counterparts to tell their stories and make history come alive once again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

vote for the Twist Art Gallery of Best gallery in the Nashville Scene it's that time of year again... vote for Twist for Best Gallery.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Press Release:
Downtown Presbyterian Children’s Summer Arts Program

If popular caricature is at all correct and church is the place where young people are
taken to learn to hate and fear their own bodies, Downtown Presbyterian Church is going
against the grain. Led by children’s education director, Sarah Dark and with the help of
area artists J. Todd Greene, Richard Feaster, David Carlson, Mandy Rogers-Horton, and
DPC’s own Beth Gilmore, Jake Larson, and Aaron Doenges, the children of the church
are working to transform the downstairs chapel into an installation of the human body.
The show’s title? Consuming Catastrophe: The Comedy of the Heart; A Play in Ate
Guided by the conviction that a child’s relationship with God is healthily
underway long before adults start arming them with readymade answers, Dark
customarily begins their Sunday morning classes together with a story, followed by
questions. Take Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed, for instance. “The smallest of all
seeds becomes a tree so great that many birds can make their home in it,” Dark explains.”
I asked the children, ‘How is the kingdom of heaven like a mustard seed?’” What did they
come up with?
It is growing.
It is a home for us.
It is something small that is becoming great.
“I wondered aloud how the seed knew what to grow into.”
It is very powerful.
It is what it was made for.
“I asked where the children find this kind of power.”
In the trees around us.
In the seasons changing.
In our bodies.
It was the phrase, “In our bodies” that connected Todd Greene’s vision of a
human body machine with this year’s Summer Art’s Program director Dave Carlson’s
hope for a kinetic installation. Dark explains: “After spending a few weeks on what
art might be for and how specific artists create art that is interactive and moving, it
was time to put all of our ideas together.” Reporting back to the children, she had an
announcement: “Kids, we’re going to turn the chapel into a human body that you can
walk through. Oh, and you are the mustard seeds.”
It’s Dark’s hope that the children’s creation will serve as a visual aid, for young
and old alike, in better discerning God’s redeeming work not as something that happens
in spite of our bodies but within and among them and for better imagining the breadth
and outlandish scope of God’s love. She envisions the installation as “an interactive
space that will take us deeper into the poetry of this weirdly elusive but ever-expanding
kingdom...Participants will cross the threshold of the mouth and enter a bioactive
landscape, journeying through the esophagus of darkness, beneath the soul of the
stomach, into the forest of intestines, accompanied by the music of the heart, exiting
into the quiet of a blossoming tree so inclusive that life lives forever in it.” Ideally, this
culminating event of DPC’s summer arts program will somehow, in Dark’s phrase, “put
skin and bones on the mystery of the kingdom of God.”
The show opens on September 4th in DPC’s chapel at 6:00. Food and drink will be
available as a part of the Artluck’s 1st Saturday Art Crawl.

Monday, August 09, 2010

more from Mitch O'Connell's second opening at Twist Art Gallery

twist etc. August opening and Bulb performs at Todd Greene's art show

even more August opening pictures ...this time by Tony Doling and Tom Wills

Twist Art Gallery August 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

future twists

Twist Art Gallery space #73 so far ......

September: Kristina Arnold
October: Joseph Lupo
November: Shane Doling
December/January: Alexia Abegg

February: Jaime Raybin and Ryan Hogan
April: Amelia Winger-Bearskin
May: Lauren Kussro

October at Twist etc. spaces #75 and #77 2010

First Saturday Art Crawl Nashville Tennessee

First Saturday Art Crawl
Sat, Aug 7. Various locations. 6 - 9 pm. Free. Art galleries throughout downtown host receptions and art openings every month. Most galleries serve free wine and other refreshments. Three free shuttles provide transportation among the galleries from 6 pm to 10 pm. See the shuttle map and gallery listing here. Listings below include additional information about some of the openings.

Art Crawl Dates in 2010:
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Saturday, January 8,

Kristina Arnold at Twist Art Gallery September 2010

Kristina Arnold at Twist Art Gallery
September 2010

Kristina Arnold has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the United States, has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and has held artist residencies in both the US and abroad. Currently on the art faculty at Western Kentucky University, she received her M.F.A. in 2003 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and her BA in Public Health from Brown University. Before returning to art school at UT, Arnold worked for five years at Brown and Vanderbilt Universities conducting epidemiological research. She is interested in the relationships between illness, biomedicine and health, and the ways in which we manufacture, manipulate and control both our bodies and our environments.

Artist Statement

My story is familiar, my worries are shared. I look across the landscape of our south-eastern-mid-western border region and I see the shift that has been occurring. My husband is the first in five generations to leave the family farm. The farm remains but can no longer sustain a family, their income swallowed by the giant agribusiness industry. Next door, the high-dollar developments encroach upon his family’s land, so you, too, can buy a million dollar weekend cabin in the country.

I worry about the insustainability of the strange middle lands known as suburban America where we now live, where the strip mall and the lawn – that American invention and obsession – are king. We continue to corral, manipulate, pave over and remove our landscape. We fence it in or out.

We have an obsession with the perfect and the plastic. Our food, our environment and our bodies are chemically and genetically modified. The re-useable has been replaced by the throw-away. The handmade has been replaced by the mass-produced, and now that mass production is moving to China. We worry not as we don our pharmaceutical smiles.

How long might it be before the natural, the individual, the hand-made, the small, the imperfect, become a memory, a museum artifact? The new nature is attractive – but slick, difficult to digest and ultimately unsatisfying.

But I still hold out hope. I have always been a Pollyanna. There can be beauty in the ugly, and the sublime in the inconsequential.

Matthew Carver at Twist etc. September 2010

Matthew Carver at Twist etc. September 2010
#75 and #77


This series of works was born out of illuminations on 13th c. profane works from Iceland, and the style is a more-or-less intuitive one only accidentally resembling a mix of techniques from french “tôle” and Mexican “maraca” traditions. The figuration is flat, the colors bold, and the handling quick. I wanted to experiment with the strength of the symbol and its power to talk about ultimate things. By turns the bright, almost absurd (are you team red or team blue?) depictions of violence and reprobation amuse and repulse, and remind us of the most widely felt ultimate, how “in the midst of earthly life, snares of death surround us.” In the binary duel to which every facet of the world is so readily reduced, no one is spared either guilt or gutting. The detached / placid faces of the actors serve a twofold purpose, both implicating our own removal from the horror of this present mortality and directing us to the contemplation of escape from it. In the last moment, consoled and disconsolate alike look away.

J. Todd Greene opens the new Twist etc. space in the arcade

August 7th 2010 from 6-9pm with a performance by Todd's band Bulb

Arcade spaces 75 and 77 are Twist etc.

Todd's show is called" Can't recall the future as well as i use to"

Artist statement

For years I have been interested in the exploration of paradox free will and predestination, being and not being, self preservation and self-destruction. I have used visual metaphors for these thoughts including carnival clowns complete with religious roadside slogans, rabbis flying new patriot machine-like helicopters, paintings and constructions resembling the miraculous balancing rock formations seen in the Southwestern landscapes of the U.S. and reproductions of imagined futuristic cave drawings. It is my intention to continue in this vein for my own personal awakening and desire to create spiritual devices to be discovered by the public.

the band is Bulb

Sarah is in the band too.

Kustom Thrills Tattoos visits Twist Art Gallery

Monday, August 02, 2010

Twist Art Gallery celebrates four years


Twist Art Gallery celebrates four years and two new spaces
AUGUST 1, 2010

Twist Art Gallery is throwing itself an anniversary party during the First Saturday Art Crawl this week. To celebrate four years in existence, owners Beth Gilmore and Caroline Carlisle will offer cake and beverages — and, of course, art — to gallery visitors.

They will also show off two new spaces as they each expand their presence in the Arcade.

"I guess it's become a tradition that whenever we open a new space, we show Todd's work," Gilmore says. Accordingly, Can't Recall the Future Like I Used To an exhibition of paintings by J. Todd Greene, will inaugurate the new spaces.

Meanwhile, Mitch O'Connell's Practice Makes Perfect continues in Twist's flagship location.

Chicago-based O'Connell's mixed-media on wood pieces combine images from advertisements for familiar products, tattoo and comic art, men's magazines (with a retro 1950s & 1960s vibe) and a twisted reference to religious iconography. O'Connell's imagery and tone is reminiscent of R. Crumb, with a bit of commentary on consumer culture thrown in.

Twist Art Gallery's two shows remain on view through Aug. 28; Mitch O'Connell's tattoo-inspired art in Arcade #73 and J. Todd Greene's paintings in the new Arcade #75 and #77. The venues' hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 6 to 9 p.m. during the First Saturday Art Crawl. Admission is free. Information is available at 1-888-535-5286 or

Nfocus :TASTEMAKERS Making Nashville A Better Place To Live

photo by Eric England


Making Nashville A Better Place To Live
Published On: July 27, 2010

The Gems

There's something about jewelry. Not only does it attract women, but also women in the jewelry business apparently must all be attractive. That was the first thought when three of Nashville's most well-known jewelry goddesses strolled into the studio for their Nfocus photo shoot and, much to our surprise, their first-ever encounter with one another.

That's right: Margaret Ellis, Judith Bright and Cindi Earl had never met one another. Each one looked classically unique and beautiful, much like the jewels they create and sell. The link between the three: they all wore smashing rocks. Seriously.

Each lady traveled different paths to their sparkly destinies. In 1976, Margaret took two jewelry-making classes and was hooked. "I started doing it professionally in 1983 when I quit my day job, made my first set of samples and went straight to New York to sell it," she says. "I still remember how terrified I was when I got on that plane—not of flying, but of stepping into the great unknown."

The world, including viewers of the movies Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada, has reaped the benefits from Margaret's big leap. Her jewelry reflects personal style rather than fashion, she says, which in part is what makes her work timeless. "The craft aspect of my work is very important to me, and I like for the metal to be an important element in every piece."

You can find Margaret at her inviting Cummins Station studio, which is "open by appointment," but in fact, Margaret says you can drop by anytime.

Cindi Earl opened shop selling fabulous gems to Nashville in 1991 when Jamie Stream, "graciously gave me the she has for many." Cindi's decision to jump into jewels came after a traumatic year. "My mother, father and brother all left this life within eight months of each other," she says. "It was one of those times life says, ‘Attention shoppers,'" she adds.

Cindi had worked at Sperry's for years but knew it was time for change. "One day I sat down to find the future and asked myself what do I have left that I love." Jewelry was the answer. She studied at the Gemological Institute and began forging relationships with jewelers around the world. Cindi and her "friends/vendors" design things together. "The Mazza Company, Alex Sepkus, Makur, Mattioli, Stephanie Albertson, to name a few, can be found all over the world, but you will find collections of their works that are very different here in Nashville," she says.

Today, Cindi's bustling shop on Harding Pike thrives on humor. Swing by for a giggle and some gems!

Judith Bright's classic, clean unique personal translates directly to the pieces she creates. After a love affair with jewelry, Judith started making her own six years ago in L.A. before moving to study the craft in Italy. She and her family packed their bags for Nashville, where she's been crafting her lovely pieces out of her home studio.

Next step: Judith is opening a flagship store at The Mall at Green Hills in November. And the world is watching. Judith's work can be seen in movies and videos including the latest Jennifer Lopez movie, The Back Up Plan.

We love these Nashville treasures. EN

The Culinarian

He's handsome and charming. He's got a smile that can light up a room. He's got killer style. And damn, can he cook! We're talking about the one and only Arnold Myint, Nashville's very own celebrity chef. There's a chance you may have seen him as a contestant on Top Chef DC recently, but we can guarantee that you've enjoyed a meal at one of his fabulous restaurants here in town.

Arnold's passion for global cuisine is apparent the second you step inside one of his three restaurants. ChaChah, PM and Suzy Wong's House of Yum are the products of Arnold's creative efforts, all of which are greatly inspired by his travels to exotic places. "I traveled a lot growing up and in my early twenties, always eager to see what the world had to offer. Every time I returned to Nashville, I searched for special places that reminded me of my experiences on the road; small boutique art-filled rooms with magical food and full of personality." His goal of re-creating these memories certainly has been achieved. Bold flavors add a kick to classic comfort food with an Asian twist. While each restaurant has its own distinctive vibe, Arnold has paid serious attention to detail. Expect polished décor, an ingenious cocktail menu and to-die-for cuisine at all three of his enterprises.

Besides running his hot-spot eateries, Arnold is involved with the Nashville Originals, an initiative to support independent and locally owned restaurants. Serving on the board of the organization, Arnold believes Music City restaurateurs must band together in order to succeed. "I find that having this kind of ‘fraternity' is essential in a developing food town. Being able to toss around ideas and support similar goals of other local culinary entrepreneurs is such a relief and very encouraging." Some of his favorite places to grab a bite to eat around town are Nero's Grill (the chicken salad melt, to be exact) and Capital Grille inside the Hermitage (lamb belly). Arnold is doing big things for the local food scene, not only by rallying around other Nashville chefs, but also spreading the message about our town. His recent spell on Top Chef DC allowed him to represent Nashville in a fresh, new way. "Part of my motivation for being on Top Chef was to share a progressive perception of Nashville. I think I at least achieved that." Nashville is constantly growing into a more sophisticated, modern city. Who better to represent this evolution than Arnold?

So what's on the horizon for him? What's next for this culinary artist? "I want to start a foundation that supports various nonprofit organizations focusing on children, food, education and the arts. A product line is in the works, but very slowly, as it will be tied to my foundation. It will be very stylish, chic and fashionable." Coming from a man who totes his chef knives in a Louis Vuitton bag, we have no doubt about that. MM

The Homemaker

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; ...The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes, but with the heart." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince.

If you talk about home with Bobby McAlpine, your chat won't be limited to that physical place you call "home." Be prepared to embark on a journey of guided self-exploration to discover and more fully articulate your own place in this world.

"I came to Nashville about 15 years ago. Although I called Montgomery, Alabama ‘home' at that time, somehow Nashville called out to me, inviting me to be here. It seemed to make no sense at all, to me or to others. But I heard and responded to the invitation."

McAlpine can live anywhere he likes because his clients are everywhere. A strong sense of home is no doubt a useful anchor for a man who frequently awakens in cities other than his own. We caught up with him as he was leaving town for personal appearances in New York, The Hamptons and Washington, D.C. to talk about his newest book. It's called The House Within Us—Romantic Houses, Evocative Rooms. Published by Rizzoli, it was already in its third printing after a mere 90 days on store shelves.

Sharing ideas with this creative genius will lead you to discover that "home" should be a physical manifestation of your own unique spirit. His book says it best: "What we crave in this life is an outer beauty that reflects the gorgeous world within us. I am speaking about the house within us. What if the house inside you became the house you lived in? What if you envisioned that your life could be just the way your imagined it? Then you are en route to enlightened destiny, because each of us has huge control over our lives. We don't always realize this because, we are, to a degree, defined by so many outside forces. But at the same time, we do have the power to create our own environment and our environment, in turn, shapes us."

"It must be a Middle Tennessee thing," Bobby said, "for people to want to see others do well. It is a kind and common gift that has been extended to me over and over again by the people here. Nashville has always been a spiritual wellspring for talented and creative people. I think we're going to see a lot more of them choosing to move here."

McAlpine's delightful talent to embody the spiritual within the physical, wedding them in structures of beauty and respite is his transformative and generous gift, not only to his clients, but to Nashville and Middle Tennessee. These contributions have already ensured that our well won't run dry anytime soon. MLT

The Creators

It's no secret that Nashville is a fertile breeding ground for inventive and inspired minds. Of course, there are music makers galore, who are artists in their own right. But because Nashville boasts such a unique cultural landscape, visual artists are quickly giving musicians a run for their money. With a genuine desire to make this city a more colorful place, Herb Williams, Beth Gilmore and Trevor Mikula are three local artists you need to get to know.

Each possessing a larger-than-life personality (and a style all their own), these three folks are at the top of who's who list of the local art crowd. Herb, curator of The Rymer Gallery, creates outrageously imaginative sculptures out of your childhood art class staple: Crayola crayons. . .That familiar waxy scent of crayons permeates his space in a delightfully nostalgic way. "I was trained fairly traditionally and tried out every different medium that I could think of before, quite literally, a dream revealed the way that I could re-introduce the crayons. I keep using them because I continue to see new possibilities in them. I love the way that they immediately engage a viewer, young or old, rich or poor. They're a gateway drug." Herb brings some serious legitimacy to the scene, having had exhibits in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, though he consciously chooses to stay and create art right here in Nashville. "I think there's an openness to seeing art and supporting artists," Herb says. "There are so many incredibly talented artists here in town." The talented folks in this town must gravitate towards one another, as Herb counts both Beth and Trevor as two of his buddies.

Nashville native Beth Gilmore has witnessed the city evolve into a thriving hub for the arts. From a young age, her parents encouraged her to embrace all forms of art. "I had art lessons at Cheekwood and etiquette lessons from a lovely lady in a hoopskirt at Longview on Franklin Road and many other of the usual types of enrichment educational pursuits like dance." Nowadays, she's just as busy and involved as she was in her youth. Beth's current repertoire includes a stint as an artist in residence at the Downtown Presbyterian Church, tour guide at Belmont Mansion ("it has always been an inspiration to my work and my life") and curator of Twist Gallery. She finds inspiration in the rich history of our region, which lends her a distinctive and charming style. With a love for the past and the present, she's as Nashville as it gets. "Staying allows me to contribute to the culture that so many have worked to build right here. Nashville has become the city I always wanted to move to." We agree, Beth.

With a youthful energy that's so intense it can't be emulated, Trevor Mikula is force to be reckoned with. The self-taught artist is a born and raised Nashvillian who employs everyday surroundings as his muse. "Everyone here has a story. It's easy to be inspired here simply by observing people in my day-to-day life. Watch out…I might be watching you." Each of his paintings is more charming than the next. One of his pieces entitled "Time Out" features a pouty Boston Terrier pup who has obviously merited some punishment (probably inspired by his own dog, Monet). Another called "Bloody Slow Start" puts a much-needed Bloody Mary front and center, with a snail crawling in the foreground. Who can't identify with that? His artwork is relevant and accessible, yet still very fun. And fun to look at. Trevor most certainly has a vivid imagination. When asked what he'd be doing if he weren't an artist, he responded, "I would be on a beach in the Seychelles sipping a Mai Tai. Or I'd own a doughnut shop with my brother Toby." While those are both good options, we hope he'll never stop making art. MM

The Activists

Picture the Wildhorse Saloon on a chilly, grey weekday, filled with more than 40 tables of 10. Rounding out each table—mostly downtown businessmen in suits.

Onto the stage prowls a striking, powerful couple. Gone is the Country-Western vibe of the space. The room is silent. The couple speaks. It's rhythmic with potent words and messages. They work together, words flowing from man to woman, woman to man. It's political. It's current. Their voices ebb and flow, drawing in the audience who appear awestruck. This is something new.

Yep, it's slam poetry. And it was only this year at the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville's Bowtie Awards that many of Nashville's movers and shakers learned just how moving it can be.

Connie Valentine, the head of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, explains how she came to book GRAVATY. "Last year, I co-chaired the Leadership Music "Artist Day" with Lisa Jenkins and Jeff Obafami Carr. Part of our goal was to expose the current Leadership Music class to cool music projects and styles in Nashville. We had nearly 50 music industry folks, most of whom who had never heard slam poetry. GRAVATY received a spontaneous standing ovation after one piece! They were so real and moving." Connie says.

Tia and Dante Miller—the partnership known as GRAVATY—hail from Ohio but didn't meet one another until they arrived at TSU. After Tia "coerced" Dante to join TSU's forensics team, the relationship blossomed. Today, they are GRAVATY, activist poets who want to set off "a spiritual alarm" that "awakens people to the vehicle that helps them carry out their purpose."

During the day, Tia manages the home and the couple's three children while Dante works as a service manager. But when they are home together, they collaborate. Their topics vary from flooding to religion to politics, and the couple says ideas come via "divine intervention." Tia describes their writing, saying, "There are times we get one word in our heads and that word won't go away until we write it down, or there will be a series of events that confirm the word. Once we begin to write that word, the piece forms. We generally write separately and when we share what we've written with each other, we find that we can easily combine our work."

The issues they tackle enable them to perform everywhere from nightclubs and churches to spoken word venues and theaters across the nation. The couple's goal with their art? "Our mission is to provide entertaining enlightenment to the masses that will serve as a catalyst for positive change against the commonalities of society. Such will inspire and motivate minds past the psychological impacts of slavery and colonization to a mental state of freedom through the spirit, which will resonate in every area of life."

To hear a sample of their work or learn where they will be performing, go to EN

The Dreamweaver

You know those people who just seem to have it all together? They're the picture of a calm in the storm—inviting and comfortable, able to accomplish everything seemingly effortlessly and they've got great style.

That's Janet Kurtz. As director of sales and marketing at The Hermitage Hotel, Janet oversees all of the rooms revenue for the hotel, as well as the marketing and public relations for The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grille. "Basically I spread the word about The Hermitage Hotel," she says. "A typical day might include traveling out of town, say to New York, Washington, DC or Chicago, to meet with national associations and corporations about booking their next meeting at the Hermitage or talking with reporters, local journalists and national travel writers, about our new farm-to-table concept in the Capitol Grille."

Janet is something of a chameleon. Wearing a variety of hats, she pulls off everything tastefully and serenely. Her cat-like emerald/ocean-hued eyes gaze evenly at you as she assures you that everything will be taken care of. What an excellent representative this young lady is to put on the road for Nashville. But don't take our word for it. Ask actor David Keith of An Officer and a Gentleman fame. A Knoxville native, he resides at The Hermitage when he's in Nashville so he can be close to government officials to lobby for his nonprofit, He credits both Janet and The Hermitage for helping him take down predators of children. "I couldn't do this without them," he says matter-of-factly.

Janet made her way to Nashville from Ohio with a diversion in between to attend the University of Evansville. After college, she moved to the city at the behest of one of her friends who lived in Franklin. She fell in love with the town, applied for a job at Belle Meade Plantation, where she worked until moving to the Loews Hotel at Vanderbilt. When she arrived at The Hermitage, she quickly climbed the ranks and was fortunate to be part of the opening following the 11-month renovation. She recalls the weekend of the opening: "There were some really funny moments—such as carrying a box of pillows while in a black dress, high heels and pearls, and trying to gracefully fall down the stairs when I realized I missed a step— and some special ones—like watching every person who came through the door gasp as they walked up the stairs, different stairs than those I fell down, and had their first glimpse of the beautiful restored hotel."

Another recent favorite Hermitage memory was a press reception at Glen Leven Estate to announce the new garden that provides fresh heirloom vegetables to the Capitol Grille. "We had a wonderful turnout and enjoyed a fabulous lunch from our garden prepared by our talented chefs and toured the mansion at Glen Leven," she shares. "I decided I was meant to be the mistress of a grand home like Glen Leven and have impressed this upon my significant other. He's working on it."

In our minds, Janet is already fulfilling that dream—hosting people from around the world at the city's historic Hermitage. And she's doing it with style. Plus, word on the street is that she makes a mean chess pie. EN

The Wordsmith

Todd Bottorff is a fun guy. A fun guy with a serious job and a passion for philanthropy and the literature community, that is. As leader of Nashville's Turner Publishing, ranked on Publishers Weekly's fastest growing publishers list for the last two years, Todd oversees the company, its leadership, the books published and company strategies and goals.

After Phil Bredesen appointed Todd to the board of Humanities Tennessee, an organization that works to advance our history and culture through writing, Todd came up with the idea for Authors in the Round, which "matched opportunity with need," he explains. "The Southern Festival of Books brings more than 200 leading authors to Nashville in October each year, and the festival requires funding to be able to offer that to the public for free, so I thought how interesting it would be to have dinner with the authors that are already here," he says. "So, we created the event where guests can buy a table and we assign an author to each table. We have had amazing authors over the last two years including the author of The Help, Kathryn Stockett, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wrobelewski, both very nice people."

An author himself, he wrote 21 Things to Create a Better Life, which aims to "capture the simplest daily things that a person can do to improve their health, wealth and happiness." The small book is part of Turner Publishing's series Good Things to Know. Todd explains, "Monumental change begins with a single small action, repeated daily."

When it comes to literature, Todd says, "I believe it is a good move, both morally and strategically to cultivate Nashville as a city for writers. Being thoughtful is good for the soul. Examining our lives and telling stories both in written word and in song gives us identity. Living among creative people makes the community so much richer. And strategically, with the changes in technology, there is so much power to make your creative message heard."

Write on, Todd. EN

The Oenophile

Take one step into Village Wines and you'll know that the folks in the shop know wine. Behind the counter, cases of juice that well-heeled Nashvillians and wine lovers have special ordered line the wall behind the register. Back in the corner of the shop, owner Hoyt Hill sits in front of his computer, working on inventory, researching products and reviews, communicating with the world's greatest winemakers.

When a customer walks in and says, "I need something that would go well with…" Before the shopper finishes the sentence, Hoyt has strode purposefully across the room and pulled out the perfect bottle. Really. The man should insure his tastebuds and nose.

Hoyt's love of wine stems in part from his first job during his senior year at Vanderbilt at Julian's. After graduation, Hoyt was offered the position of maitre d' and accepted. "Working for John Haggard was an inspiring learning experience in terms of an unrelenting pursuit of excellence," he shares. From there, Hoyt moved on to F. Scott's, which quickly became one of Nashville's most popular and enduring restaurants, and the Wild Boar. His next step—Village Wines.

How could such a petite shop be filled with so many gems? In addition to Hoyt's knowledge, there's his clout with winemakers. He explains, "Our focus is to bring true value to our customers in terms of the price and quality of the wines we sell—that applies to our $500 wines as well as to the $15 ones. When we find a wine which we think is a special example of its type, we try to negotiate pricing."

Hoyt's passion for the grape has helped fulfill his interest in helping others (you'll see his name listed frequently as a benevolent donor a societal function) as well as his love of travel. He recalls one of his favorite wine journeys: "I was walking in the vineyards in Burgundy about 15 years ago with a well-known American wine exporter named Russell Hone. Russell asked me to walk about two meters across the hillside and tell him if I noticed any change. Well, I walked two meters and it actually seemed to get warmer. When I pointed this out to Russell, he informed me that I had just walked from Batard-Montrachet to Montrachet, and the extra warmth in Montrachet results in riper grapes That is why Batard-Montrachet sells for $150-$350 per bottle and Montrachet sells for up to $3,000!"

You know Hoyt loves his job when he explains the best part of his day: "When you open a bottle of wine with dinner, the TV gets turned off and music gets turned on. It's also more likely that you will prepare dinner rather than bringing something home...Dinner lasts one and a half hours rather than 30 minutes, and all kind of things are discussed that would not have been without the wine." EN

The Artisans

The word handmade conjures up images of a warm apple pie made from scratch or your great-grandmother's artfully sewn quilt. But handmade liquor? Just ask the folks behind Corsair Artisan Distillery, who are breaking the mold and bringing craft made spirits to Nashville. Childhood friends-cum-business partners Darek Bell and Andrew Webber are the masterminds behind this unique venture, which is on the fast track to becoming a world-renowned distillery, with products ranging from Vanilla Bean Vodka, Red Absinthe and their highly-recognized Gin-Head style Gin.

The idea hatched from Darek and Andrew's shared enthusiasm for, of all things, biodeisel. While whipping up a batch of the eco-friendly fuel one day, Andrew expressed his desire to make whiskey instead. Darek had experience making wine, beer and sake and Andrew's family was in the wine industry, so it seemed like a natural fit. Darek noticed there was a real need for bringing a high-caliber craft distillery to Tennessee. "I had been watching the artisan distilling movement in mostly the western states like California, Oregon and Washington. I was amazed that nothing was happening in the South. I didn't want Tennessee to be left behind, given the wealth of distilling knowledge and lore here."

Some say that timing is everything in life. Darek and Andrew would probably agree. As Andrew was finishing up his MBA at Vanderbilt, Darek and his wife (and former bar critic) Amy Lee were moving home to Tennessee from New York City. When Darek and Amy Lee first met in NYC, they spent a good bit of time trying cocktails and visiting different bars around the city for Amy Lee's job. Needless to say, they've always been spirit aficionados. After returning to Nashville, Darek pitched the idea of a micro-batch craft distillery to Andrew. Together, they wrote a business plan and the rest is history.

Nashville seems to have been the ideal location for a start-up venture. Darek says, "I still miss New York City, but I'm very happy to be back. Opening Corsair has been great, and Nashville is the perfect fit for it. It would have been very, very difficult to start out in New York." In addition to taking over the old Yazoo Brewery space in Marathon Village, they've got a second distillery in Bowling Green. With several major awards under their belt, Corsair is headed to big places. "We got a lucky break almost immediately after we launched, when our gin won a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the most prestigious spirits competition in North America. We have now won 11 medals at international spirits competitions."

Corsair products are now available in states across the country including Colorado, Oregon and California. Look out for a new whiskey from them called Triple Smoke, too. Darek says it's fantastic and complex, made from three different smoked malts. And best of all, they're constructing a gorgeous new tasting room in the Nashville distillery, where visitors are encouraged to sit back, relax and enjoy the handmade, homemade goodness. Sounds pretty damn good to us. MM

The Champion

A piece of fine jewelry or a luxury timepiece is valued not only for its intrinsic beauty, but for its symbolic depth. Either is a great choice as a commemorative gift for a wedding, birth, anniversary or well-deserved retirement.

So it comes as no surprise to learn that Nashville's newest jewelry purveyor has a deep commitment for his adopted "hometown." David King of King Jewelers says, "Most people wouldn't know it, but in addition to making strategic business sense, Nashville offered my family and me many appealing and compelling emotional reasons for our new store location." He adds, "My uncle's been in the jewelry business here for 40 years. Although our family has deep roots in South Florida, we've known and liked a lot of things about Nashville for a long time."

The Green Hills store opened in November 2008. Social circles were soon aware of King Jewelers due to the company's active participation in fundraisers. But the King family business soon focused their philanthropy on the health of children, a cause dear to David, a former aspiring physician.

Talking about the founding of the Champions for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, David's eyes light up like diamonds. With co-chairs Beth and Paul Frankenberg, he has partnered with the Children's Hospital to improve the health of children.

The Champions are making an annual gift to the hospital that supports two initiatives: the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at the Children's Hospital which provides intensive symptom management and support services to children with life-threatening illness; and, the Katherine Dodd Faculty Scholars Program which helps junior faculty members create a community of future leaders who will advance the education, practice and policy of children's health care.

This entrepreneur and philanthropist has emerged as a polished children's champion. He attended the University of Pennsylvania to go to medical school, but instead chose to attend the Wharton School.

David returned home to learn the family business. Now in our city, David says his business, family and philanthropic sensibilities mesh well with Nashville. "We are a family-owned business where service is the single most important aspect of what we do. My family has been in business for five generations and Nashvillians value that sense of tradition," David said.

"My experiences in pre-Med led me to realize that I could have a much greater impact on the health of children as a successful businessman more than as a doctor. With Champions, we are going to help shape a healthier future for children." MLT