It is my sincere pleasure to welcome you to the Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center, the crown-jewel of Sumner County arts organizations. I began my association with Monthaven in 2017, working at first as a volunteer director of external affairs. Monthaven was a humble operation at that time. We had all of 30 students enrolled in our art classes, and our budget was a scant $60,000 a year. But even then, I could tell Monthaven was a place of joy, love and infinite possibility.
With the help of my dear friends Lois Riggins-Ezzell, the legendary director emeritus of the Tennessee State Museum, and Susan Prado, a Nashville-based artist of keen imagination and generous spirit, we began to map out plans for Monthaven’s future. We envisioned Monthaven sitting at the center of an expanded arts campus, functioning as a kind of creative town square. Equality and inclusion would be the chief civic virtues in our visionary town. Art should be for everyone, so our art exhibitions and outreach programs to underrepresented communities would always be free.
Monthaven has changed a lot since I first arrived. The house has been transformed into a jewel-box art museum that has displayed the works of Pablo Picasso, Peter Max and more. Our school has now grown to more than 600 students, and our annual budget has increased tenfold. But our values and our vision have remained the same. Community engagement remains our top priority. Indeed, our “Between the Lines” healing arts program for military veterans and our outreach programs for youth and families bring positive change to thousands of people every year.
I invite you to pay our creative community a visit. Attend one of our art exhibitions. Enroll yourself or a child in one of our art classes. You’ll be glad you did. And if you get a chance, please stop by and say hello. My staff and I would be thrilled to meet you.
Executive Director and CEO