Monthaven Art and Cultural Center

Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center
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“Blaze of Glory” by Val Adams

American Legion Post 17 in Gallatin just celebrated a glorious 100th anniversary. On June 22, 2024, Post 17 erected a sculpture of a combat infantryman outside its Sumner County Veterans Residence on South Water Street. Titled “Blaze of Glory,” the statue was created by the Nashville-based reclaimed metal sculptor Val Adams.

“This sculpture pays tribute to the service of all our Sumner County military veterans,” says Adams, who donated his sculpture to the American Legion Post. “It embodies the spirit of leaving no one behind.”

Gallatin’s American Legion Post is deeply committed to that spirit. In 1991, Post 17 purchased a small motel located across the street from its headquarters. The motel was refurbished into a residence and now accommodates as many as 30 retired military veterans who are in need of housing and support.

Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center is likewise committed to these veterans. In the fall of 2023, Monthaven transformed the motel’s old lobby and common area into an art studio called “The Warriors Workshop.” Healing arts facilitators from the MACC now meet there weekly with veterans, guiding them through creative projects in a positive group setting. MACC Executive Director Cheryl Strichik, who spearheaded efforts to create the workshop, considers the space to be nothing less than an “expressive arts sanctuary.”

Val Adams, a retired Air Force captain, has become a familiar face at this sanctuary.  He works closely with the residents as one of the MACC’s healing arts facilitators. For the past 6 months, Adams has also been in regular communication with the Post’s officers about the new sculpture.

The piece depicts a heroic soldier leading the charge into battle. Welded from an assortment of old metal parts collected in Gallatin, the statue stands 14-feet-8-inches high and weighs about 3,600 pounds. Plans are in the works for four additional metal sculptures, which will. line up behind “Blaze of Glory.”

Not surprisingly, the statue inspired considerable pride among the Post 17 officers and residents in attendance during the dedication ceremony on June 22. Greg Johnson, the Post’s finance officer, noted that “Blaze of Glory,” like all great works of art, transcends its original purpose.

“This awesome statue represents more than just Post 17’s 100th anniversary,” he says. “It represents all of our Sumner County military veterans. And just as the statue gives new life to old metal parts, it gives new life to our veterans as well.”


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.