Monthaven Art and Cultural Center

Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center
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You can think of Valentine Adams and Jeffrey Burke as heavy metal artists. Now, I’m not talking about guitar-shredding rockers of the Metallica variety, though guitars figure prominently in the works of both men. Rather, I’m speaking literally about artists who transform sheets and scraps of heavy metal into exquisite works of fine art.

Adams and Burke will be on hand Thursday, May 18 for Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center’s inaugural Artist Talk at MACC at the Streets, 300 Indian Lake Blvd. A140, Hendersonville. The artists will showcase some of their works, discuss their artistic processes and even provide a musical demonstration or two. The free event starts at 5:30 p.m. and will include some complimentary Tennessee Mule.

A Nashville-based artist, Adams developed a healthy appreciation for good, old-fashioned metal machinery during his 23-year career in the U.S. Air Force. He refers to his art as reclaimed metal sculptures. Not surprisingly, these works possess a certain steampunk quality, with gears and gadgets fashioned into fantastical shapes. The final product is fine art expertly crafted to appeal both to the connoisseur and the layman.

“At first glance, one of my sculptures might appear to be a piece of highbrow museum art,” Adams observes. “But on closer inspection, you’ll see the piece is constructed of old machinery parts that only a blue-collar worker might fully recognize and appreciate. It’s my way of creating a work that will hopefully be accessible to everyone.”

In welding discarded machine parts into the shapes of guitars, animals and even people, Adams has found a way to reanimate America’s industrial past. Metal art reminds him of a time when American consumers bought durable domestic goods. In that respect, his art serves as an effective critique of today’s disposal culture.

“People these days seem to be in constant pursuit of cheap throwaway goods,” says Adams. “I want my art to remind them that there was a time when things were made to last.”

For Burke, a knack for art is something encoded in his DNA. His father was an artist and technical illustrator, and he passed along his artistic genes. As a kid, Burke was always drawing. Cars, cartoons and favorite historical figures all found their way into his sketch books. It seemed almost inevitable that he would attend the American Academy of Art in Chicago to study commercial art.

Burke devoted his professional career to designing exhibits for trade shows, eventually starting his own design company. His passion for art was only exceeded by his love for cars and guitars. He’s been collecting guitars and other string instruments for over 20 years.

About a decade ago, Burke found an ingenious way to combine his passions. He began transferring photographic images of cars and guitars onto sheets of metal, a process he refers to as “artist enhanced” photography.

“I spend a lot of time setting up the photographs,” Burke says. “Details are important, and people who know their guitars will see immediately that this is an image of a Rickenbacker guitar or a Gibson.”

For his Artist Talk on Thursday, Burke plans to add a little music, playing a few tunes on one of his guitars.

“I’m actually more comfortable performing than talking,” he says.

Kaylin Warden

External Affairs Coordinator

Kaylin Warden joined the Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center staff in 2024 as External Affairs Coordinator. In this post, she organizes special off-site events and manages the organization’s external communications. She also works with the development department by updating the MACC’s customer relations database, and she assists the executive director in setting up exhibitions. Above all else, Kaylin is passionate about the arts. It comes as no surprise, then, that she is now pursuing a master’s degree in art history. When she’s not at the MACC, you can find her reading her favorite books (especially ones dealing with maritime mysteries), cooking, gardening, playing with her cat and two dogs, and cheering for the Nashville Predators.

Ruth Chase

Regional Arts Director
Ruth Chase is the Regional Arts Director of Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center, joining the team in 2023. For Ruth, the job is all about community, bringing people together to uplift and educate artists and art lovers alike. Her role at Monthaven is to strengthen the local artist community and build connections that will enrich Hendersonville and our surrounding communities through art exhibitions, art education, and opportunities for regional artists.
Prior to joining Monthaven, Ruth worked in the arts for over 30 years and is a multimedia artist and graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute. Her artistic practice is inquiry-based and engages in community bridge-building. She was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles, curated and juried exhibitions, and has taught at the Crocker Art Museum.
Ruth was awarded an Artist-in-Residence for Artist Activating Communities through a grant from the California Arts Council for three consecutive years. Her film Belonging screened at both the 18th Annual Nevada City Film Festival and Wild & Scenic Film Festival. She has received the Legendary Female Artist of Venice award, and she has exhibited in The Crocker Kingsley, the Museum of Northern California Art, and the Diego Rivera Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute. Ruth also continues her work as a Curatorial Consultant and Art director for the Californian Indigenous Research Project, where she has worked with the local tribe since 2018.