Monthaven Art and Cultural Center

Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center
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No, visitors to Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center are not seeing double. They are, however, encountering two of the most versatile artists in Nashville.

Twin brothers Cain and Cyle Barnes are well known to Monthaven art students as an especially popular pair of instructors. The two teach an adult class in acrylic painting on Wednesday evenings. Denizens of Nashville’s alt rock scene, meanwhile, admire the brothers for their hard-driving rock ‘n roll.

The two have been performing with their band The Weeks since 2006. On Saturday, April 27, the band will take center stage at Monthaven’s Magnolia Cottage, entertaining Middle Tennessee art patrons at the MACC’s Fifth Annual Moonlight and Magnolias Gala Fundraiser.

For Cain and Cyle, segueing between the visual arts and music has long been a way of life. “We’ve always been interested in anything creative,” says Cyle, whose soft baritone drawl betrays his Mississippi origin. “And we’re interested in all mediums, not just acrylics,” adds Cain. The twins – both tall and lean with rock-star-length hair – routinely finish each other’s sentences.

The Barnes Brothers’ devotion to music dates back to their youth in Florence, Mississippi. They recall that their Uncle Charlie (they were raised by their aunt and uncle) would take them on hunting trips. A true-blue Southern rock fan, Uncle Charlie would have Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and other icons of the genre playing on his radio. Whenever a favorite tune came up, he’d have the twins stop and listen.

“Uncle Charlie didn’t emote about much,” recalls Cain. “So, when he actually took the time to point something out,” continues Cyle, “we’d listen.”

The listening sessions had an impact, and by high school the twins were already fully invested in music. Cain took up drums. Cyle instinctively began singing to his brother’s fascinating rhythms. In 2006, the twins joined forces with their school friends Samuel Williams (guitar) and Damien Bone (electric bass) to form the rock band The Weeks.

A few years after their founding, Cain and Cyle relocated to Nashville. Why Music City? “We’re Mississippi boys,” says Cyle. “New York and Chicago were too cold.”

Stylistically, The Weeks blend elements of Southern rock with indie influences. Over the years, they’ve been compared to such acts as The Avett Brothers and Alabama Shakes. For my money, what most recommends The Weeks are the power and originality of their songs.

In the best tradition of Southern rock, The Weeks create songs that are guitar-driven, with Williams’ fleet-fingered guitar riffs propelling the arrangements forward. Bone and Cain, meanwhile, provide tight rhythmic accompaniment.

The Weeks’ song lyrics typically delve into love and (often fraught) relationships, with frequent references made to the Barnes Brothers’ Mississippi home. The relationship that vocalist Cyle Barnes recounts in “Buttons” definitely suggests dysfunction.

“Lost some buttons to my overcoat/Pull your knife away from my throat,” sings Cyle Barnes in a bluesy rasp. “She said, ‘smoke your cigarette, I hope you choke’/Kissed my lips and quickly ran away.”

In the fast, rollicking tune “Brother in the Night,” The Weeks create a Mississippi-flavored “Bohemian Rhapsody,” minus the operatic caterwauling. “Say I’m wanted for a murder of a man…They’ll see the barrel of my gun before they ever see me hang…I’ll bury my money in the mighty Mississippi mud.” In the slow tune “Hands on the Radio,” Cyle Barnes’ deeply-felt delivery creates a heartfelt lament. “You used to love the way I sang/I just sit collecting dust now.”

When they’re not onstage, you can find the Barnes Brothers engaged in just about every other kind of art. They studied painting and photography at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, a background that has facilitated their work in music videos, band artwork, printmaking, painting and embroidery.

Their versatility has greatly benefited Monthaven. “Cain and Cyle’s musical and harmonious style have taken our art programs to the next level, enriching our community with vibrant and innovative expression,” says MACC Deputy Director Tonya Mirtes. “We are lucky to have them as teachers at Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center.”

Students attending the MACC’s inaugural Summer Teen Art Immersive at Nōssi College of Art and Design will surely benefit from the twins’ knack for acrylics. Their class, called “Vivid Vision,” will explore the flexibility of acrylics, with students learning the basics of layering, impasto, glazing and texture application.

“Acrylics are great for both beginners and advanced students,” says Cyle Barnes. “Acrylics are so versatile,” adds Cain, “that anyone can soar.”

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.