There was a nice warm breeze as I wandered across Bruce Street to see the April 2019 Art Happening at the Arts In Common Gallery. The Sevierville Commons Arts Council had announced a presentation featuring local artist, David Freeman. I had seen his work before and had read a recent news article about him that was interesting so I knew that this would be a particularly interesting event.
Featured artist, David Freeman, and Lee Murray. Interestingly, Lee is the subject of the portrait which is displayed behind them in the photo. You have to see it closer to appreciate the colors and light in the painting.
Freeman is clearly a talented portraitist. The portrait to the left is the artist’s mother.
These events are sure to have other artists in attendance. Aiden, Chuck, and Levi Ottolini enjoyed the April Art Happening. Chuck is a well known local artist in Sevierville. He is known for stained glass that has beautified many a church window in East Tennessee. Ottolini has also created some amazing things for local businesses. Go to Sevier Distilling Company and see the beautiful things in the tasting room.
Katie and Austin Williams came by to visit with a couple of very special guests!
The music was quite relaxing and lent a nice ambiance to the event. Local musician, Tony Negrðn, plays many genres of music and makes the event feel so comfortable. His specialty is Smoky Mountain Delta Blues.
David Freeman uses pastels, acrylic oils, and water colors in his art. A Cocke County native, Freeman is naturally inspired by the scenery and beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Freeman grew up in Cocke County and attended Cocke County High School. He took classes in college and ended up majoring in art at ETSU.
Freeman worked as a graphic artist for a while, then started doing pastels, pet portraits, and portraits in general.
The table held beautiful displays.
Refreshment was perfectly tailored for the event and for those who enjoy a treat after work. The cheesecake bites were perfect!
Lee Murray created a beautiful table and delightful hors d’oeuvres. It was lovely.
It is not near Christmast time, but I was really wanting this figurine!
During the program, Freeman addressed the attendees and told about his path to being the artist that he is today. Most interesting, he told about creating a portrait of Christ during a church or revival service. It took him only 15 minutes and the final painting stood over 6 feet tall.
Freeman has been painting large scale murals. This is a plan for one that will soon begin in Jefferson County, off of exit 417. He unrolled a template so that we could see what he was describing. Freeman has already painted a mural in Gatlinburg at the Blue Green Mountain Loft Resort. That mural is 12 feet tall and over 90 feet long. A must see!
I was especially happy to run into an old friend at the event, Jack Maples, pictured right. David Freeman was the winner of a $1,000 prize in a widely publicized mural contest last year for Maples Motor Inn. The other local finalists were award winning artists Shannon Kelly and Mark Smothers. Jack Maples has commissioned a mural to be painted on the back of his motel, which faces LeConte Center. They are waiting for the city of Pigeon Forge to approve a new ordinance to allow it. I can’t wait to see this mural some day!
My friends know that I love murals and finding them in our travels. I have not known exactly how to explain this love of murals until I heard Freeman talk about it at the Art Happening last week. He said that he likes murals “because you feel like you stepped right into a painting.” Bingo! That explains why I love them so much.
During the event, I chatted with several other artists. One artist creates figurative sculptures. This one is called What’s Up, Cupcake? These are amazing art dolls for collectiions.
Here is her contact info. You can see three more of her figurative sculptures at the Arts in Common Gallery on Bruce Street.
I admired these delicate creations by Emily Kelly Ede. Each was light as a feather and lovely. The prices are very good as well.
She has more jewelry on display at the Arts in Common Gallery. These earrings are available in the gallery.
It was soon time for me to go so I bid farewell to the artist and the attendees. Here are two of the Art Happening attendees and fans of David Freeman’s work. I love all the colors in this photo!
David Freeman is an outstanding local artist and I am excited to see the new murals that he will be creating, both in Pigeon Forge and in Jefferson County. This Art Happening allowed me to learn more about the artist and his work, especially in my favorite genre: murals.
Sadly, the Arts in Common Gallery may be closing in July because grants will soon be finished and they are not sure about the future. That means that you will have at least two more opportunities to visit an Art Happening in the Bruce Street gallery before anything changes. I encourage you to come spend a little time in their gallery. It is such a lovely place for visiting, relaxing, or their many ‘Make IT and Take It’ sessions. Even more, it enriches our community.
Art Happenings are one of the best ways to enjoy getting out and about in Sevierville.