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Emporium Center features new exhibitions in May

  emporium center
  Photography by Richard Jansen. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Arts & Culture Alliance is presenting five new exhibitions at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville from May 4-25, 2018. Most of the works are for sale and may be purchased through the close of the exhibition.

The Artistic Pulse: An All Media Exhibit by the Knoxville Watercolor Society in the Balcony gallery.

In 1963, the Knoxville Watercolor Society began when the head of the University of Tennessee’s art department, Kermit (Buck) Ewing, invited watercolor artists exhibiting at the university’s McClung Museum to form the nucleus for the organization. The purpose of the organization is to educate the members as well as the community to the understanding of watercolor as a significant art form. Active membership is juried by the members and consists of Knoxville area artists who are currently active in the serious pursuit of aqueous painting and meet regularly to share knowledge and new techniques.

KWS donates a yearly scholarship to a University of Tennessee student majoring in watercolor, maintains membership in local art organizations, and contributes to watercolor awareness by funding awards for the Tennessee Watercolor Society's biennial exhibit and grants for other worthwhile art associations and programs. Additionally, grants have been made to the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Tennessee Resource Center, and the Tennessee Art Association High School Scholarship Program. Recent exhibitions have been held at the University of Tennessee Conference Center, the Oak Ridge Community Art Center, the Art Market at the Candy Factory and the Knoxville Museum of Art.

Members exhibit with the Tennessee Watercolor Society, other state watercolor organizations, the Southern Watercolor Society, Watercolor USA and the American Watercolor Society and consistently win regional, state and national awards. Local watercolor artists interested in joining KWS have the opportunity to apply for active membership each October and submit paintings to be juried by the membership at the November meeting. For more information, please visit

International Latino Art Exhibition II: Art for Integration in the Main gallery
This biennial exhibition provides an overview of what is happening with Latin American contemporary art and seeks to continue promoting cultural integration and diversity. Curated by Dina R. Ruta, the exhibition features thirteen art masters and emerging artists from seven countries who have excelled in their careers, having been consecrated winners of biennials and international competitions.

The featured artists include:
• Argentina: Masters Eduardo Lozano and Liliana Jones and Ángel Barón Da Conte
• Colombia: Master Orlando García Camacho
• Honduras: Master Santos Arzú Quioto and Luis Landa
• Peru: Master Pedro Fuertes Bolaño, Dora López Prieto and Guido Garaycochea
• México: Master Jose Luis Malo and Veronica Jimenez
• Venezuela: Master Patricia Quevedo
• United States: James Taylor

Each work presented is a range of multiple colors and meanings with well-elaborated symbolism, suggestive shapes and images. “The works unfold in a varied gesture and give us an effect of delight, of constant movement, of not belonging to a place,” says Dina Ruta. “The works speak of the artist, but like magic, a viewer of another country or culture is able to feel identified in it.” The works create a poetic link between the emotional universe of the artist and the viewer.

Work by Booder Barnes in the display case
Booder Barnes has been sculpting for 20 years, developing a style that uses texture and motion to express character in figure. His exhibition will feature a sample of these sculptures. His heads are from an imaginary community called Heresville, and his performance characters are from a series of acrobats called Mudman Circus. Currently, he is working on grotto scenes of dramatic poses imitating religious scenes.

Dream in Color by Debbie Wills on the North Wall
Debbie Wills is inspired by the beauty of the world around her, memories, moments in time and the many emotions that are experienced in life. Color has the ability to move us in so many different ways; it can bring us to tears or fill our hearts with joy. It can capture our souls and take us to another level. Color is a beautiful commonality shared by all.

Debbie Wills’ passion for art began the moment she was able to pick up a crayon and create. Since then, she has expanded to alcohol inks, acrylics, watercolor and mixed media and enjoys trying new techniques and mediums. Wills studied at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She also taught art classes and enjoyed it wholeheartedly. “Art has always been a constant in my life,” she says. “It fills a place in my heart that nothing else can. I am almost an empty nester, and because art is therapy for my soul, I plan to create as much as possible in this new season of my life.”

Richard Jansen: A Potpourri of Photography in the Atrium
Photography has been Richard Jansen’s passion since 1970 after he returned home from Vietnam. As a freelance photographer, his motivation comes from his surrounding world. “It is what I believe to be a beautiful gift from God,” says Jansen. Scenic and landscape photography is his main area of interest, and he enjoys the spontaneity of creative photography. After his experience in Vietnam, he realized how much he had taken for granted in his environment. “I began to look beyond the everyday routine views and became a very visual person, which thus transformed my way of seeing and understanding the world around me.”

Richard Jansen was born and raised in Kansas, attending Wichita State University before doing a tour of duty in Vietnam. In 1971, he enrolled at University of Washington, Seattle and also attended the University of Colorado, Boulder. He completed Command & General Staff College in 1987 and retired as Lieutenant Colonel in 1997. He has been a freelance photographer for over 45 years. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is an active member of the Arts & Culture Alliance and Broadway Studios & Gallery.

His new exhibition will include a combination of scenic, landscape, close-up and creative photography. For more information, visit

The exhibitions are on display at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Please note, the Emporium will be closed on Monday, May 28, for the holiday. For more information, please contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543, or visit

About the Arts & Culture Alliance
The Arts & Culture Alliance serves and supports a diverse community of artists, arts organizations, and cultural institutions. The Alliance receives financial support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the City of Knoxville, and First Tennessee Foundation.

Published May 6, 2018

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