Photo by Tod Shelby

Photo by Tod Shelby

New Exhibitions Opening at The Emporium

June 7–30, 2024 @ Emporium Center for Arts & Culture

The Arts & Culture Alliance presents five new exhibitions at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville from June 7-28. As part of a special First Friday Block Party sponsored by the Alliance and the City of Knoxville, a free gathering with the artists takes place Friday, June 7, from 5-9p.m. Additionally, the night features more than 20 artist vendors and live music with The Merlin’s Nest and Nief-Norf faculty outside along the 100 Block of Gay Street, which will be open to pedestrians only from 4-10 p.m. between Jackson and Vine avenues.

Alex Smith: Moved by Stillnessand Jan Muir: Stop and Smell the Flowersin the upper gallery

Alex Smith: Moved by Stillness

"I’ve lived in the hustle and bustle of New York and in the East Tennessee countryside. Whatever my surroundings, I’ve been very aware of being in the present moment when I’m working. As an artist, I hope I bring viewers the ability to be still, to put down their phones and silence the noise of the world. My works are from scenes in my life where I’ve found inspiration; each painting has its own story that a viewer can only find by being still."

Alex Smith is a native Knoxvillian. He is a graduate of Carson-Newman University, studied at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and completed his MFA at The New York Academy of Art. Smith received an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant, an Artist’s Teaching Residency at the Altos de Chavon School of Art and Design, and a Bailey Opportunity Grant. He has been the featured artist at the Dogwood Arts Festival and ArtXtravaganza in Knoxville. His work has been exhibited at the Emporium in Knoxville and numerous galleries in New York, including Sotheby’s, Panepinto Galleries, Dacia Gallery, and the Wilkinson Gallery at the New York Academy of Art.| Instagram @alexsmith_artist

Jan Muir: Stop and Smell the Flowers!
"The main influence in my life and art has always and will always be the natural beauty of the outdoors. As a wildlife photographer, I am able to focus on the eyes of the wild while having my spirit melt into the immensity of open landscapes. Each continent has its particular feel. Each continent holds multiple memories. My glass art is similar. I embrace beauty, place, and function. The current series reflects nature through the use of flowers. Some pieces arose from photographic images that I’ve taken, while others I designed to elicit joy."

Muir grew up in Las Vegas and has lived in Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico; she now resides in Vonore, Tennessee. The beauty of place and the warmth of community make East Tennessee an ideal place to call home. Expressing herself through art became part of her journey while in college, and she graduated with a Ceramic Arts Degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She then worked in pottery for many years until a love of photographing wildlife and traveling absorbed her. As a photographer, she was a guest photo lecturer aboard National Geographic/Lindblad Expedition ships and became a contributing photographer to a leading Stock Photo Agency. In 2020 and 2022, her photography was featured on the covers of National Geographic Kids and Little Kids Magazines. In 2002, she began to work with blown glass at Pilchuck School of Glass. Muir has since studied and taught glass art fusing, casting, and blowing in the Czech Republic, Turkey, New Zealand and stateside at the Corning Institute of Glass.

Fountain City Art Guild: Spring Showin the lower gallery
The Fountain City Art Guildfeatures original art by nearly 30 local artists including oils, watercolors, woodworkingand more.

The Fountain City Art Guild began in 1979 as a group of women who met in the “Art Cellar” – the basement of Chloe Harrington’s home. At that time, most of the Guild members were watercolor artists. For several decades, they were known as the Fountain City Watercolor Guild, and they met in various churches and homes in the community, holding exhibitions in local businesses. In 2000, the Guild voted to allow other 2-D media in their exhibitions, and in 2015 members voted to allow nonfunctional 3-D work as well. In 2004, the Guild was instrumental in helping open the Fountain City Art Center at 213 Hotel Avenue, the location of the old Fountain City Library.

FCAG is currently a group of around 50 local artists who work in a variety of media. Guild membership is a juried process occurring in late fall and early spring. In addition to monthly meetings, the Guild also hosts exhibitions at local venues. The purpose of FCAG is to encourage public interest in and enjoyment of art. They encourage higher artistic standards in quality and workmanship, the exchange of ideas and new techniques, and strive to provide an atmosphere that encourages and inspires creativity.

Michelle Carr: Transparent But Unseenin the Atrium
"This collection of images offers multiple slow shutter speed captures of choreographed movement, depicting motion entangled with light and portraying the concept of the dance community transparency in Knoxville. The lack of support leaves the dance community feeling unseen at times. The romantic tutus and pointe shoes depicted amongst a variety of Knoxville backdrops show partial views of dancers that mimic the idea of being partially seen and unvalued in our Southern culture. Creating movement and an introspective look at women in dance through my lens has been a passion for me since the Pandemic when teaching and choreographing was not an option. I love creating images filled with grace, manipulation of light, and movement to bring awareness to dance in the Knoxville area."

Michelle Carr has been a Knoxville resident since 2008. She has 35 years of experience in ballet as both a professional dancer, instructorand choreographer spanning Georgia, Coloradoand Tennessee. She has taught, danced and choreographed with Go! Contemporary Dance Works for the past 15years. She is a hand therapist at Ortho Tennessee, mom of three, and a grandmother of all girls. Carr embarked on her photography journey with the University of Tennessee's non-credit program in 2019. Enthralled by creating both on stage and behind the camera, she joined Buttermilk Sky Pie to aid in developing visual marketing material during the franchise's early stages. Recognizing the potential in merging her passions for dance and photography, she began experimenting with light and movement, leading to the creation of "What's The Pointe: Ballet in the Pandemic". Her photographic works have been displayed in various local galleries in Knoxville and have received accolades in dance-related and local photography contests. Carr continues to pursue meaningful projects, such as "Four Seasons: The Vivaldi Project" symbolizing life's seasons, and "Discarded", offering an introspective look into society's perception of women, especially in the realm of dance.

Instagram @mcarrphoto ||

Photography by Tod Sheleyon the North Wall
"Being a partially blind / color blind photographer, I want to bring awareness to disabilities and arts. While I enjoy all styles of photography, street, reflection, concert, and nature photography are my favorites. I want my photography to demonstrate that just because a person has limitations, those limitations do not define who they are. To me, photography is healing."

Tod Sheley is a Knoxville-based photographer known most for his reflections and architecture. Inspired by years of traveling with his band and watching the streets of Knoxville grow along with him, he brings an uplifting and inspiring perspective to the stories of people and places. He is a father, a musician, a poet, and sometimes the investigative photographer with Knoxville Ghost Tours.| Instagram @tsheleyphotography |

Glass Works by Jo Marie Brothertonin the display case
"I see the human creative process as a form of tangible meditation. Holding a piece of work in your hand is holding someone's time on this earth, their focus. My work represents years of study, a dance if you will, manipulation of a medium you can't touch with your bare hands until it is completely finished and cool. And that is what draws me in. My work is sculptural, exploring translation of our world."

Jo Marie Brotherton came to the glass world via stained glass in 1979. In the years since, she has learned to use a wide range of glass forms and techniques. As a student at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, she helped fabricate a stained-glass installation designed by Eric Ericson. She built windows for private collections as well as commercial use. She was also part of the team that built the 1980 World’s Fair stained glass at the L&N Station. By that time, Brotherton had started working for Knox Glass in Knoxville. She exploreddalle de verre, sandblasting carving, hand beveling, painting, fusing, furnace work and lampwork. Eventually she became vice president of Knox Glass’s glass art department. In the nineties, Brotherton learned lampwork from Kim Adams and Gary Newlin. She felt especially drawn to working with hot glass at the torch, so after retirement in 2000, her creative urge in glass focused on lampwork. Although she has learned from many artists around the world, she is locally grown in her journey in glass and still lives in Knoxville. Brotherton built a studio behind her house and has opened it up to share with other artists and teach.

The exhibitions are on display at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902. The Emporium is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most of the works on exhibition will be for sale and may be purchased by visiting in person or the online shop at For more information, seewww.knoxalliance.comor call (865) 523-7543.

Category: Exhibits