The Rutherford Arts Alliance is featuring a temporary art installation in Murfreesboro’s historic downtown district that will be open to public spectators as soon as weather permits.
The Walnut House at 116 N. Walnut St. will serve as the venue for this pop-up collection of 21 panels provided by local artists. Each piece measures 36x46 inches, and will be arranged to form a mural on the business’ exterior wall.
This is the third mural the RAA has completed since its launch in 2018 with the help of a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, according to Ginny Togrye, the Murfreesboro-based artist and sculptor who organized this collaborative project.
“Once they started, it was kind of like a snowball effect,” Togrye said.
Togrye, who was Murfreesboro’s 2017-2018 Painter Laureate, said she reached out to artists within the alliance via social media, asking them to paint their interpretations of the mural’s theme: “Hope and Encouragement Through Creativity.”
“After the year we’ve all experienced, a lot of artists — some of them haven’t been painting — and, you know, it’s just been kind of depressing for them,” said Togrye.
Participating artists include Jarvis Barr, Abby Reish, Heather McCormick, Susan Gulley, Carol Berning, Ginny Togrye, Becky Phelps, Ray Kleinlein, Lisa Sims, Lisa Browning, Diane Stockard, Lisa Lewis Jackson, Joy McCrary, Ashley Buchanon, Meagan Arms, Reba Gilpin, Kelly Rae Huber, Crystal O’neil, Brittany Goodson, Ryan Frizzell, Barbara and Lee Hodges.
Ray Kleinlein, a Nashville-based painter and MTSU art history professor, was just one of the artists that Togrye enlisted to complete the mural. Kleinlein wrote that he’s always eager to answer Togrye’s call.
“I’m thrilled to participate in any project that showcases local visual artists,” Kleinlein wrote in an email, “Projects like this often give artists the opportunity to try something they otherwise wouldn’t do.”
Kleinlein submitted a monochromatic floral piece that uses only white paint to give his work what he describes as “a more graphic feel” that can be seen from near or far.
Many of the pieces included in the mural feature positive written sentiments, including Togrye’s contribution, which reads “Imagine. Create.” She anticipates that the collection will remain on display for three to six months.
This year’s mural differs from previous years because it’s composed from individual submissions. Togrye says that several factors played into this decision. Ultimately, it was a creative choice that ended up being the most efficient option given its limited run during the winter months of a pandemic.
“It’s too cold to paint a mural,” Togrye said. “We wanted to do something temporary that we can switch out.”
The RAA plans to complete at least one more mural by the end of the year with the remaining grant money.
“Then we’ll be out of the mural business,” said Togrye, who said she hopes to see the alliance expand the artistic mediums it uses to convey its message.
“Our goal is to be a support group for all types of creatives and to be a connector with government, with business, with arts groups — to be that connection with the community,” Togrye said.