Monthaven Art and Cultural Center

Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center
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Ralph J. McDonald


Paintings of Ralph J. McDonald

Magic of Santa

The MACC rang in the holidays with some of renowned Tennessee artist Ralph J. McDonald’s paintings of Jolly Old St. Nicholas.

McDonald was already a renowned wildlife artist before he created his first Santa Claus painting. That work, titled “A Christmas Party,” was inspired by a trip through Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains on a snowy winter day. It was painted in the tradition of Santa painters he most admired, such as Haddon Sundblom, Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth. Not surprisingly, McDonald’s love of nature finds its way into many of his Santa paintings. In most of his Santa paintings, McDonald also includes a depiction of the Nativity. The details in all of his paintings work together to emit kindness, joy, laughter, peace and serenity.

As a wildlife artist, McDonald’s career was second to none. He was commissioned by the governor of Tennessee to paint the official state bird, the mockingbird, and by the governor of South Carolina to paint the state animal and fish, the whitetail deer and striped bass. McDonald has twice been Featured Artist in several of the most prestigious wildlife art shows in America, among them the Southeastern Wildlife Expo and World Wildlife Expo.

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.