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New exhibitions at the Emporium Center, downtown Knoxville

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Gallery of Arts Tribute.
KNOXVILLE -- The Arts & Culture Alliance is presenting five new exhibitions at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville. Most of the works are for sale and may be purchased through the close of the exhibition. The exhibition will run through January 26.

Genevieve S. Byrd: Pour L'amour des Chevaux in the lower gallery
Genevieve S. Byrd specializes in equestrian paintings and will display artwork created with pencil, oil, watercolor and acrylic in this solo exhibition. An avid equestrian herself, Byrd has worked with horses for her entire life. As a child, she rode on her family farm and competed for East TN Hunter/Jumper Association, and then she continued to ride for the Intercollegiate Equestrian Team at the University of Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Drawing from UT-Knoxville, graduating in 1999. Specializing in pastel, watercolor and oil paint, her works include a variety of mediums. Some of her current work is featured in veterinary hospitals, art galleries, restaurants, private collections and various businesses throughout Georgia, Maryland, California and Tennessee.

Genevieve S. Byrd lives in Maryville where she teaches private art lessons and works as an independent artist. Her paintings capture the boldness, silent power and spirit of the horse. Whether working abstractly or in realism, Genevieve hopes to allow the art critic to feel the emotional reverence, power and energy of this amazing creature. For more information, please visit

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Gallery of Arts Tribute in the Balcony gallery
The MLK Gallery of Arts Tribute will kick-off the 2018 King Week Celebration (January 10-15, 2018). The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission is partnering with the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville to provide this annual exhibition. The Gallery of Arts Tribute is a juried exhibition developed to recognize local artists and most importantly honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The exhibit will feature works by local artists reflecting the 2018 theme, Transforming the Community by Committing to Service, attributed to the Dream and the Dreamer who affirmed, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Works in the exhibitions may also be a reflection of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and have pertinence to the themes of Unity, Community, Love, Reconciliation, Social Justice, and Civil Rights. For more information, please visit

Works by Jo Marie Brotherton, Renee Mathies, and Cheryl Prose in the display case Jo Marie Brotherton, Renee Mathies, and Cheryl Prose are all recipients of 2017-2018 Bailey Opportunity Grants.

Jo Marie Brotherton has been passionate about glass her entire life, and the fascination has gotten more intense. The orb is the unspoken visceral shape to which humanity is drawn. Held, it allows the viewer to have ownership in the exploration of visual absorption. Her work forces the viewer to engage in rotating it to explore. In creating a finished piece, there is a peace coupled with challenged anxiety when she is sitting at the flame. Both have drawn her into pushing herself and her work. For more information, visit

Renee Mathies is a glass and metal artist that loves to play with fire. She is a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, the Smoky Mountain Firecrackers, and The Creative Hands Street Team which is an East Tennessee group of Etsy sellers. She loves to sell her work in person at shows because it gives her a chance to show people the craft and work it requires. Her media include handmade glass beads, acid etched copper, forged copper, and bronze and sterling jewelry components. Every piece comes out unique. Teaching glass beadmaking (lampworking) and metalsmithing have become her passion. For more information, visit

Cheryl Prose will display encaustic wall art, handmade books, artist jewelry featuring wire work, lampwork beads, and mixed metal. Prose is a bookbinder and mixed media artist. She is a co-founder and coordinator of the Knoxville Book Arts Guild. She frequently serves as a studio and instructor’s assistant at Penland School of Arts and Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and John C. Campbell Folk School. Her work has shown in numerous group exhibits in Knoxville and Lenoir City as well as Shelby, NC and Asheville, NC. Her work is published in Eco Books: Inventive Projects from the Recycling Bin by Lark Press. She has worked as an assistant binder at The Gilded Leaf Bindery: Fine Bookbinding and Restoration in Maryville since 2013. For more information, visit

Sam Stapleton: Stilled Life on the North Wall
As the son of a 40-year employee of Eastman Kodak, photography seemed ordained to be a meaningful part of Sam Stapleton’s life, if not his livelihood. His first camera, a Kodak Brownie, was purchased with money earned at Eastman, and among his first images were photos of the smoke plume rising from the 1960 Eastman plant explosion that killed 16 employees including one of his neighbors. Through the years, his dedication to the varying pursuits of rock concert photography, color landscape imagery, magazine collaboration with his freelance writer/wife, Patricia Hudson, as well as black and white portraiture arising from the births of two daughters, have led inexorably to the maturation of his photographic vision. “I now see myself engaged in a continual search for beauty in the hidden recesses of nature,” says Sam Stapleton.

Artist statement: My series, Stilled Life, juxtaposes the ephemeral beauty of flowers with the concept of eternal beauty. By freezing the flowers that I photograph, the otherwise transient splendor of the blooms is placed in stasis, potentially forever. The resultant ice texture is meant to have a profound effect upon the viewer, adding an unexpected dimension that commands closer inspection of the imagery. In essence, one’s attention is to be momentarily frozen. I created these photographs to serve as a reminder that although nature only permits the blossoms to flourish for a few hours to a few days, their beauty is something that resonates in our souls forever. For more information, please visit

Carol Robin King: Jewelry For The Walls in the Atrium
Tennessee artist Carol Robin King was born and raised in Argentina as a daughter of foreign missionaries. She remembers loving drawing as early as the age of three. While in Argentina, she attended a professional art school for several years and continues learning through workshops, books and videos. King has had opportunities to paint commissions and create illustrations as well as teach art classes for children and teens in a private school setting. King works in various mediums including watercolor, acrylics, and pastel and she recently began working in bas relief 3D art with drywall. She currently resides in Kodak.

“Quiet times, pleasant memories and peaceful places are what I strive to capture in my art,” says Carol Robin King. “When I choose a subject, my main goal is to bring the viewer a moment’s peace in a hectic day or a pleasant memory to lift their spirit. I am inspired by people in everyday life and the beauty of nature. I often paint children in my works to help bring the viewer back to those simple times when life was new, fresh and less complicated. I’m driven to paint; it is an expression of my very being, and my hope is that somehow that expression will touch another person.” For more information, please 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, January 15. For more information, please contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543, or visit the Web site at

Published January 15, 2018

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