The American Watercolor Society’s 153rd Annual Traveling Exhibition has made its residency at the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center (TFAC) for the month of February.

In January, the art center announced it would be hosting the traveling show once again. Tickets went on sale Jan. 5, with the price of admission set at $20 for non-members and $10 for members of TFAC, South Jackson Civic Center, The Fly Art Center, Grundy Area Arts Council and Franklin County Arts Guild.

The American Watercolor Society (AWS) was founded in 1866 and held its first exhibition the following year. AWS is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious art societies in the world, and election to the society as a member is one of the most sought-after honors in the painting world.

According to TFAC President Josh Cole, the art center is one of only eight institutions that gets to host the exhibition. Other art institutions hosting the exhibit include the Salmagundi Club in New York City, Mid Plains Community College in Nebraska, the Longview Museum of Fine Arts in Texas and the Eastern Shore Art Center in Alabama.

“We are extremely happy to be one out of eight institutions across the nation to host this amazing exhibition,” Cole said.

The annual exhibition is one of the most revered watercolor exhibits, with more than 1,100 artists from all over the world submitting their work to be considered for the exhibition.  Of these submissions, 143 paintings were selected for the exhibition, and 40 paintings from the show were selected by the Jury of Awards for the traveling exhibition, which will tour six museums and galleries across the country for the next year.

Cole added the relationship between AWS and TFAC is as good as it’s always been, despite AWS having to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the biggest changes to this year’s exhibit is all 40 award-winning paintings were spread out to all four of the art center’s galleries instead of staying in one room. According to Cole, earlier in the year it was announced there would be a standalone gift shop, which would make it easier to rotate four exhibits each month. This will allow TFAC to support more local artists and traveling exhibits at the center, he said.

With this change, it made it easier to expand the exhibition to all four galleries as it helped with COVID-19 precautions when it came to social distancing.

Another change was the creation of the AWS Committee at TFAC.

Cole stated the TFAC Board of Directors created several member-driven committees to assist the board in allowing TFAC to operate smoothly. The AWS Committee was chaired by some of the long-standing members who have experience with the traveling exhibition. Cole said the board put its full trust into the committees and is happy with the result.

“The TFAC Board of Directors put full trust into our committees and we are 100 percent happy with the way the installation was handled,” Cole said.

Since the Feb. 6 grand opening of the exhibit, Cole said attendees have been happy with the exhibit thus far, and the art center has received visitors from out of state to see the exhibit.

After the grand opening, TFAC announced via Facebook that the art center will bring in more traveling exhibitions, which will be partly funded through the National Endowment for the Arts. The traveling exhibition is a collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, Exhibits USA and Mid-America Arts Alliance.

The AWS exhibit will be at the art center until Feb. 27.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.tullahomaart.org or by visiting the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours for the art center are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 401 S. Jackson St. The art center will utilize COVID-19 precautions.

For more information, contact TFAC at art@tullahomaartcenter.org or 455-1234.

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