The Tullahoma Art Center (TAC) has once again been selected as one of only six national venues for the American Watercolor Society’s 152nd Annual Traveling Exhibition.

Forty paintings from one of the premier watercolor exhibits in the world will be in Tullahoma from March 3 through March 23. This exhibition will provide art lovers from the Tullahoma area with an opportunity to view the best in watercolor paintings from around the world.

According to TAC Director Tina Shang, the American Watercolor Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious art societies in the world, and election to the society as a signature member is one of the most sought-after honors in the painting world.

“This is a big deal for us. The work that will be on display is truly the cream of the crop,” Shang said. “We feel blessed to be one of the stops on the American Watercolor Society tour, an honor that has been credited to the efforts of the late Lucy Hollis, a former director who long ago acquired it.”

Shang said the traveling exhibit has chosen to stop in Tullahoma every two years since 1994. The last AWS exhibit in at the Art Center was in 2017.

The idea for the organization began after the Civil War in New York. The idea was to bring a cultural revolution with artwork to enhance lives and bring joy. In addition, girls’ finishing schools were beginning to teach watercolor painting which gave it prominence among fashion and manners, the American Watercolor Society website states.

On Dec. 5, 1866, a group of artists held the first meeting of the American Watercolor Society. The 11 artists who attended the meeting became the founders of the society, and their mission was to promote watercolor art in America.

The organization now holds exhibitions of watercolor paintings by artists from all over the world.

“The American Watercolor Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious art societies in the world,” said Shang. “With artists from 27 countries covering a variety of subjects, it is a culturally diverse representation of the highest caliber of artists in the medium.”

More than 1,100 entries were submitted to the American Watercolor Society to be considered for the traveling exhibition. The exhibition will feature the watercolor works of 40 artists.

“This is one of the most prominent exhibits in the world, and the fact that it comes to our little town is really amazing,” Shang added. “The exhibit brings people in from all over. We have had people visit from surrounding states and even as far away as Illinois.”

Many of the greatest names in painting have been members of the society, including realist artist Andrew Wyeth, American Impressionist Childe Hassam, regionalists Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield and virtually every member of the “California School” of watercolorists.

“It is rare to find an exhibit of this exceptional quality in a small town museum or gallery,” commented Shang. “You would have to visit New York or London to find something similar. It really is a remarkable opportunity and it brings in people by the busloads.”

Shang invites everyone to attend the exhibits opening reception March 3rd from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Tullahoma Art Center. The cost is $10 for members and $20 for non-members.

The exhibit runs through March 23 with regular gallery hours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.


Other Art Center happenings

The Art Center has been working diligently on its historical building for the past few months. Repairs have been made, maintenance has been completed and soon a new coat of paint with fresh landscaping will complete the new ambiance of the Art Center.

Shang mentioned that the center will be displaying all new art when the center officially opens for 2019 on Friday, March 1.

“We have been working diligently to take care of the building and grow our offerings,” said Shang. “We are adding more classes and workshops this year and hoping to bring in some interesting seminars and lecture series. We are looking to diversify.”

The Art Center is also expanding its communication efforts to online forms for proposal submissions for anyone interested in teaching art, music, dance and classes and workshop suggestions. The center has already received proposals for stained glass classes, music lessons, yoga, oil painting, reiki, photography, calligraphy and digital design.

“We are open to a wide variety of subject matter. It does not just have to be art,” Shang added.

On opening day, official submission for artists that want to display their work in the gift gallery or exhibit with the Art Center will begin. Art will be accepted through the traditional model of jurying before it is accepted into the gallery.

In May, the Young Artist Gallery will launch in collaboration with the Tullahoma City Schools. More details about this will be available soon.

There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities available at the Art Center during 2019. Students who need college credit hours for scholarships such as the TN Promise are welcome to come, earn hours and have fun while doing so.

Information on workshops, classes, exhibits, proposal submissions and other related matters can be found at The Art Center is located at 401 S. Jackson St. in Tullahoma.