The Vol State Art Gallery features the works of visiting artists from across the country, as well as Tennessee artists, our students and faculty. All gallery events are free and open to the public. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black (SRB) Humanities Building on the Gallatin campus at 1480 Nashville Pike.

During the Spring and Fall semesters, when in-person classes are being held, gallery hours are:

  • Monday - Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The gallery will be closed for holidays and at other times when the campus is closed. Hours in between semesters may be more limited. For more information call (615) 230-3200.

If you are interested in learning about upcoming Visual Arts events, please add your name and email to our Visual and Performing Arts Email List.

Upcoming Shows for 2024

  • David Orantes - February 5 through March 29
  • Student Art Show - April 8 through May 2

Past Shows

The Art Gallery at Volunteer State Community College is showing the work of Nashville artists Caroline Allison and Lain York in March. The York exhibit is titled Ruins. “My work in this show continues to be influenced by architecture, landscape, memory, and finding a sense of place of the world. Having grown up in middle Tennessee, I have seen a lot of change- particularly in the past 13 years,” York said.

The Allison display is titled They Were There For Everyone. “Building upon earlier investigations of our environment, the images in this exhibition are comprised of large scale color photographs of the landscape, cyanotype photograms, and images that have been reworked and covered in salt crystals,” Allison said.

Caroline Allison art work example
An example of work by Caroline Allison


Lain York and Caroline Allison art example
An example of work by Lain York 

The Art Gallery at Volunteer State Community College will be showing the work of Nashville artist Mark Hosford this winter. He teaches art at Vanderbilt University and has held exhibitions in Poland, Germany, South Korea, China, New York, Boston, and California. He specializes in drawing, printmaking, and animation. Hosford said his work draws from a fascination with counter-culture imagery, spiritualism, curiosities, obsolete technology, stream of consciousness, and personal narratives.

“My prints, drawings, and animations are amalgamations of many different obsessions and interests,” Hosford said. “I was raised in the visual language of counter-culture ephemera, comics, and animation. I allow the aesthetics of my past to be incorporated into my current ideas and processes.”

Mark Hosford art example

The Art Gallery at Volunteer State Community College will be showing the work of artist Alex Lockwood in October and November. The Central Basin of Middle Tennessee is home to a globally unique desert-like ecosystem known as the Cedar Glade. Surrounded by Eastern Red Cedars, these clearings are made of limestone rock formed 500 million years ago during the Ordovician geological period. The exhibition “A Future Field” is a depiction of a Tennessee Limestone Cedar Glade in the distant future.

“On the one hand it is a celebration of place: I use discarded plastic to recreate this environment with a wide range of plants globally unique to the Glades, including Gattinger’s Clover, Limestone Fame Flower, Glade Larkspur and the Tennessee Purple Coneflower,” said Lockwood. “On the other hand, the show is a warning told through dystopian science fiction: my work imagines this ecosystem on a post-human Earth that has been permanently altered by the plastic garbage we relentlessly generated. Over time our waste has broken down and infused itself into every fiber of the natural world - reworking all flora and fauna into plasticized versions of their original forms.”

Alex Lockwood art example

The Art Gallery at Volunteer State Community College will be showing the work of artist Matt Eddmenson of Nashville. The exhibit is open to the public. A graduate of The Art Academy of Cincinnati, Eddmenson draws from a range of influences and sources for his practice, including Cowboy Comics, Pop Art, and the work of Cy Twombly. His works are gatherings and reconfigurations of American imagery and iconography, commonly featuring cowboys, skulls, and rodeo horses. He also incorporates images from the golden age of comics and tattoo culture.

“I work from my memories as a child, I learned to draw by tracing comic book covers over and over until I was able to draw these characters from memory — I have a deep admiration for comic book art,” Eddmenson said.

Matt Eddmenson art example

Ted Jones works in a wide range of media including copper relief repousse, painting, wood sculpture, and relief prints. Born in New Orleans, Jones earned a BFA from Xavier University. His graduate degrees are from Michigan State University and the University of Montana. He is a retired professor at Tennessee State and also taught at Fisk University.

Jones states, “Art is the correlation of my total experience, of which my art is the creative record. The studio is my chapel. The art form is my offering and prayer.

In 2020, Vol State hosted the Second Tennessee Community College Student Art Exhibition. Students enrolled in studio art classes at all thirteen TBR community colleges were eligible to submit art works. Students from 6 of the colleges are represented here: Chattanooga, Pellissippi, Roane, Walters, Southwest and Volunteer State. Forty-two works where chosen out of 307 entries. The juror was Billy Renkl, Professor of Art, Drawing and Illustration at Austin Peay State University.

Intercollegiate Student Art Show

Exhibition of the finely crafted works by artists working in Fiber, Metal, Wood or Clay.

Tennessee and surrounding region have a wealth of craft artists. Their works are often utilitarian as well as aesthetic, sometimes they are pure expression or fantasy. All show technical prowess and expressive content.

Originally from Oklahoma, Marilyn Murphy is an Emerita Professor of Art at Vanderbilt University. Her work has been shown in over 390 exhibitions nationally and abroad. She has had a mid-career survey at the Frist Museum and a two-person exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art. Marilyn’s work is in many public and private collections including Huntsville Museum of Art, the Boston Museum School, the Prudential and Bridgestone Collections. Her work is represented by several galleries across the nation, including Carl Hammer in Chicago, Tinney Contemporary in Nashville.

“My drawings typically include one or two figures involved in an improbable action or working at some curious task. Film Noir and magazines from the 1940’s and 1950’s often inspire my work. Growing up on the Great Plains, I often include the action of the wind in my work. Often the objects are beyond reach or curiously out of human scale to create a dreamlike atmosphere Subtle humor is often an important element in my work as well.”

Selected Drawings by Marilyn Murphy

Each Spring we showcase work by our students studying studio arts: Drawing, 2D and 3D Design, Painting, Graphic Design, Printmaking, Photography and Ceramics. It is a juried exhibition with awards for excellence. This show honors the hard work and creativity of our students and also provides an experience in the preparation and presentation of their art. This year’s juror was Sheri Flournoy Selph, Assistant Professor MTSU. Sixty works were selected out of 250 entries.

“The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman written in 1892, inspired Las Vegas artist, Erik Beehn to create this installation in our gallery. Beehn’s exhibit is a journey through the story, illustrated through wallpaper designed and printed by the artist, as well as silkscreen prints that reveal layers of text. The installation brings the story from the two-dimensional page into three-dimensions referencing the room in which the heroin is confined as she descends into insanity.

Beehn is an artist and educator located in Las Vegas. He received his MFA from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and is currently adjunct faculty at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Beehn is also the cofounder and director of Test Site Projects, a fine art publishing house.

Chip Boles is a native of Nashville. He has worked as an art director and digital & traditional illustrator. His work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He also is muralist with productions for the Nashville Children’s Theatre and the television show Nashville.

This exhibit featured graphite or charcoal drawings on wooden panels. His realistic drawings of unreal characters allow the audience a glimpse into secret moments of reflection, realization, loneliness, or despondency. Boles states: “Rendering detail is a form of meditation and focus for me. These characters’ personal stories become important to me as I consider their emotional reactions to a world where monsters show a capacity for humanity while humans show an aptitude for monstrosity.”

This show included art made by two women working in a variety of materials, including textiles. Each artist challenges traditional roles of women and invites the viewer to question identity and expectations of women today.

Erinn Nordeman

Erinn Nordeman is a printmaker, photographer, video and textile artist. She received her BFA from Millersville University and her MFA at the University of Arizona. She is interested in shifting traditional materials into contemporary questions of sexuality, identity and female gender expectations.

Monica Stewart

Monica Stewart is a multimedia artist working primarily with paper. She received her BFA with an emphasis on painting from Murray State University and MFA at the University of Louisville. She explores the relationships between narrative and object. She draws on imagery from fairytales to allude to dysfunctional familial relationships, female agency, as well as the magical and grotesque. Cutting, rearranging, and embellishing both traditional and nontraditional materials creates the work.

Each Spring we showcase work by our students studying studio arts: Drawing, 2D and 3D Design, Painting, Graphic Design, Printmaking, Photography and Ceramics. It is a juried exhibition with awards for excellence. This show honors the hard work and creativity of our students and also provides an experience in the preparation and presentation of their art. This year’s juror was Kathy O’Connell, Associate Professor MTSU. Over 70 works were selected out of almost 300 entries. In 2018 we extended exhibition of student works through the summer.

Jessie Barnes is an artist whose practice exhibits a deep appreciation of printmaking, painting and drawing. Originally from Jacksonville, she received her BFA from the University of North Florida in 2013. Barnes went on to obtain her MFA from the University of North Texas in 2017 and currently lives in Dallas.

She states: “My work is driven by uncertainty. It stems from personal memories and experiences, but taps into universal themes of adolescence, beauty, power, and fear. As a Florida native, this body of work oozes with tropical fervor, though its origins are found in feelings of uneasiness and deeply embedded childhood memories. Tangled palmettos and invasive vines serve as metaphors for instances in our lives when innocence turns to fear, while color lures the viewer closer.”

Connie Smith grew up with clay in her hands before she could write her name. Her family moved to Gallatin from northern Ohio in 1977, and while still a pre-teen, a chance meeting with a young doll maker in East Tennessee inspired a fixation on “dolls as objects of cultural inheritance” that ultimately changed the trajectory of her creative life.

A Vol State alum, Connie earned her associate’s degree in Fine Arts in 1988 and a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art from the University of Memphis.

Her need “to restore something primal and intuitive” prompted an unabashed and full-scale return to 3D clay forms. Connie adapted the practice of hand-building hollow forms from high-fire clays and began reinventing the figures of her early childhood. From 1991 to 2005, she honed her oeuvre in her family's art studio, The Lamb’s Ear, attending art festivals and salons of her work hosted in the homes of collectors.  By the mid-1990’s Connie's work began to appear in trade magazines, and she joined the National Institute of American Doll Artists. The mature development of her signature anthropomorphic style, has found its way into collections across the country, including a few high-profile collections: Nashville music producers Mike and Linda Curb, actress Whoopi Goldberg and Disney animators Eric and Susan Goldberg.

Connie moved to New York City in 2007, where she joined the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, honing her lithography and book arts skills. With the advice of a local filmmaker, she furthered a short film idea.

Having chaired NIADA's 2017 Conference in Nashville, she recently moved back to the  area. She anticipates teaching sculpting workshops, and starting pre-production on her first short film. The Vol State Gallery is pleased to present her first solo exhibition since her return to Gallatin.

Richard Painter creates large scale images and 3 dimensional objects by a unique process of using fire resistant coating and blow torches to char wood. We are proud to say that Richard is also an alumnus of Vol State. He completed his BFA at Austin Peay State Univ. and has built a career exhibiting across the nation and internationally.

His images of natural and ordinary objects are at once bold and fragile. Richard states: “My work since 1995 has utilized burning. Either rapidly or slowly, everything burns. The stars, planets, rocks, earth, plants and animals, molecules and atoms, quarks and maybe tachyons--everything that springs into tangible existence starts being consumed by the oxidation of time.” “Some say that I'm really an arsonist at heart and have simply found a polite and productive way to deal with that tendency.” (

Video featuring the burning process of Vol State Alumnus Richard Painter