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Franklin Art Scene offers variety of talented artists, new sights and sounds

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As the rain fell in sheets Friday afternoon, Franklin residents looked anxiously up at the sky, hoping the weather would clear up in time for the monthly Franklin Art Scene.

Just as they had hoped, afternoon gave way to evening and gloomy clouds were exchanged for sunny skies as Franklin’s streets filled for the art crawl, bringing residents young and old from all over the city to experience the work of local artists.

The nostalgic sounds of an accordion echoed down Main Street as an evening promoting creativity of all types began.

Crowds gathered around self-taught accordionist Makai Keur throughout the evening as he softly tinkled his black and white keys, which set the festive ambience as people gazed into shop windows and chatted with artists around Main Street.

Greeting passersby, local painter Erin Johnson reflected on the Art Scene’s effects on Franklin’s growing art culture.

“You see a lot of young people, which is wonderful,” Johnson said. “The exposure, the ability to talk to the artists ... I like the experience of being able to see what people like, what they don’t like, what they relate to.”

Franklin art continues to thrive in the Art Scene’s eighth year of existence, helping local artists showcase their work while inspiring future artists.

A variety of locations downtown participated in the event, including the Historic Presbyterian Church, which hosted the work of local artist Daniel Klatt, a former graphic designer, who began painting landscapes and portraits after retiring eight years ago. Having worked in art as a graphic designer for 40 years, Klatt believes Nashville’s art culture is one of its foremost attractions.

“There’s a lot of talented people in the Nashville area – there always have been. The music industry spawned a lot of that, but creative arts are very popular here,” Klatt said. “These kind of events bring artists to the forefront and give people an opportunity to see what kind of talent is really out there.”

Gallery 202, an art gallery that has played an integral role in the creation and promotion of the art scene, hosted numerous artists as well, helping showcase a variety of art forms.

One of those artists, Julie Harvey, has participated in the art scene since its beginning in 2011, but moved to Florida this year. Yet she traveled all the way back to Franklin for Friday’s Art Scene, believing that the people that participate make the Art Scene a unique event.

“I’ve had my stuff in here (Gallery 202) since 2011, so it’s been in here a good while. I really love the people that run this place ... they’re wonderful people, and I couldn’t ask for better people to sell my work,” Harvey said. “I just really appreciate being in here.”

Other artists, including Johnson, potter David Pic’kell and sculptor Chris Smith, displayed their work in Gallery 202, while chatting with visitors and sharing their passion for the arts.

Meanwhile, sculptor Janel Maher set up shop outside Dion’s South Salon, working on the early stages of one of her horse sculptures in front of an intrigued audience. Gently carving away at the clay mould for one of her bronze sculptures, Maher talked with bystanders as they watched her work.

Down Columbia Avenue, the Art Scene also marked the opening of a new addition to the Franklin art community: Franklin Creative Studios.

Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, record producer Daniel Ornellas and his wife opened the combined music and art space with the goal of creating a place to promote both music and fine art.

“Cape Town is a melting pot, there’s a lot of art – it’s like the San Fran of Africa,” Ornellas said. “We were talking to them (Gallery 202), and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if there was more art culture around Franklin that people can come and see art?’ There’s not a lot of visual art people can walk in and enjoy the paintings people make without having to buy anything. We thought we’d start something where people can just enjoy the moment.”

With the opening showcasing, the work of artists like renowned photographer Jeremy Cowart, Ornellas hopes to raise art’s profile in the community, particularly among young artists.

As young saxophonists and violinists played on street corners down Main Street Friday night, their music intermingling in the crisp evening air, events like the Art Scene demonstrate the potential Ornellas sees in Franklin’s art culture.

“(It’s) just inspiring people to take art further,” Ornellas said. “There are so many other things you can do, like watch Netflix, but just to be able to get into something that’s Old World and fun like this is pretty cool. And people dig it.”

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