The Murfreesboro Art League is one of those “hidden gems” that has been around for a long time. Locals are constantly coming in and saying: “How long have you been here?” When they learn that we’ve been in this same location for over 40 years, they are shocked.
The Murfreesboro Art League was founded back in 1966 by Clarice Nelson when she moved to town. She and two of her friends decided they wanted an art club. At first, they met in the basement of a local bank, but when the city of Murfreesboro was making Cannonsburgh Village as part of the Centennial celebration in 1976, the art league purchased a part of an old warehouse in the village and converted it into an art gallery and classroom. We have been meeting in the same location since that time, although we have undergone a couple of name changes, as well as many interior changes.
The artwork in the gallery is updated several times a year. We have a variety of pieces, from abstracts, to photos, to oils, watercolors and acrylics, as well as pieces in some of the more unusual mediums. Some of our artists have cards and prints for sale, and we have an Artists’ Alphabet book for a donation, which helps raise money for our children’s activities.
The members of the art league are as varied as the art that hangs on the walls. We invite everyone, from beginners to the more advanced. We can each learn from each other, no matter what our level of expertise. Membership is open to individuals, as well as families with children ages 10 and up. The children may participate if a family member attends the classes with them.
We currently have 27 members, who share in volunteer work. An artists’ cooperative can only work if the members support one another. We take turns working at the gallery and teaching classes. We keep membership dues low this way, currently under $50 per year. Occasionally, an outside teacher will be called upon.
We have classes or open studio time on the first 3 Monday nights of each month. Each month is a different topic, usually with all three classes covering the same medium. We aim for about 18 classes per year. We alternate months with classes with Open studio time, which is fun because each artist brings something to work on. We can chat and help each other. We have a business meeting on the 4th Mondays.
The Murfreesboro Art League is an ideal way for new artists to begin to show their work. Not only do we have the gallery in Cannonsburgh, but we also show several times a year at different locations, such as the City Hall Rotunda and the Center for the Arts. We show at the Greenway Arts Fest, and several of our artists participate in other local events like the Studio Arts Tour. We also have our own “showcase artist” as well as a spot in the foyer of the Linebaugh Library where we show the “artist of the month”.
The art gallery is open to the public for free viewing. See our blog for current open times (murfreesboroartleague.blogspot.com). Cannonsburgh buildings are open from April until the end of October, but the gates are open Tues-Fri the rest of the year. People are welcome to come in and view the art for free.