Monthaven Art and Cultural Center

Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center
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Tamborine Mountain is an idyllic spot. A volcanic plateau nestled in the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, the place is home to exotic birds, pristine waterfalls and lush tropical rainforests. Aboriginal settlers first occupied this scenic hinterland tens of thousands of years ago. Their spirit, pure and untamed, is still keenly felt in the region.

The magic of Tamborine Mountain certainly comes through in the artworks of Julie Luiz Murphy. The artist, whose exhibit “Tamborine Mountain” is on display at MACC at the Streets through October, creates colorful paintings filled with mysterious heroines. These heavenly creatures rule their kingdoms, and entice the viewer to step into their world.

Murphy will be on hand for an artist reception on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at MACC at the Streets, 300 Indian Lake Blvd., A140, Hendersonville. She returns to the Streets on Thursday, Oct. 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to provide an artist talk and demonstration.

These days, Murphy divides her time between her home in Queensland and Nashville. We caught up with her recently to ask a few questions.

What brought you all the way from Australia to the Nashville area?

JLM: I have lived between Queensland and the USA for the last eight years. That’s because my daughter, country singer Jamie O’Neal, lives in Nashville. This trip came about when Cheryl Strichik, executive director at Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center, offered me a showing at MACC at the Streets. It is indeed an honor to work with such a prestigious, community-spirited gallery.

What’s Tamborine Mountain like, and how does it inspire you as an artist?

JLM: It’s a beautiful mountain region in the hinterland of the Gold Coast in Queensland, where natural beauty abounds and a peace exists that calms the mind and centers the soul. The aboriginal tribes originally lived here and to this day it exudes a magical aura that people from all over the world are drawn to.

I’ve heard your art described as “Story Art.” What does that mean?

JLM: Figurative art, when woven with a theme or story, tells a visual tale to the viewer. Naturally, there is an interpretational element in such works. Story art takes the art lover to places and times that inspire a sense of mystery and fascination. I can start with flowers and birds, but it always ends with a mysterious character or two making their presence and story known.

Who are the mysterious characters, the heroines, of your paintings?

JLM: My heroines are always the stars of the show. They make their presence known the minute I take pen to paper. Their stories unfold all around them. They are not based on real people. But they are composite characters. They’ve been called “heavenly creatures,” with their mysterious tales woven into a backdrop of exotic locations and rich costumes.

Could you describe your process?

JLM: I’m led by spirit. Always. I’m self-taught and am inspired by a greater power, and I have no rules or guidelines to follow. I like it this way. It’s freedom to paint from the heart, not the mind.

What do you hope viewers will take away from looking at your art?

JLM: When collectors tell me they are lifted into a joyous place and feel inspired by my art, I have achieved my goal. I strive to bring an illusory sense of theater surrounded by a fairytale world. That’s my happy place. I hope it’s the same for the viewer.

Is there anything I didn’t ask that I should have?

JLM: Yes, I’d like to include my mantra: to be led by spirit and bring forth a message that’s merely channeled by me.

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.