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Jeanne Brady-Best of Show

The Best of Tennessee Craft 2016 Exhibition at East Tennessee State University

September 13, 2016

Pictured above: Jeanne Brady-Best of Show: It Weighs Heavily Still ...

By Randy Sanders, Reece Museum Director

On Saturday, August 27, approximately 130 art supporters gathered at the Reece Museum on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, for the opening reception and awards presentation of the Best of Tennessee Craft 2016 Exhibition. The Best of Tennessee Craft juried exhibitions showcase the finest contemporary and traditional craft by providing public visibility and recognition for the quality and diversity of craft found throughout Tennessee.

Jerry Jackson, deputy director at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina, served as the guest juror for this year’s exhibition. Mr. Jackson selected 58 works by 40 artists. About the exhibition he said, “The exhibition ranged from works rooted in traditions to work that expanded boundaries. These characteristics along with craftsmanship and experience formed the criteria used in the jury process.”

Cash awards included a $1,000 Best of Show (won by Jeanne Brady, Smithville, Tennessee); First Place (Sadie Wang, Silver Point); Second Place (Martha Christian, Nashville): Third Place (Mindy Herrin, Johnson City); and four Merit Awards (Don DuMont, Memphis; John Jordan, Cane Ridge; Bruce Willey, Nashville; and Kimberly Winkle, Smithville).

Teri Alea, Executive Director of Tennessee Craft, adds, “We are thankful for our partnerships and sponsors who help us hold up fine craft in ways that build the public’s awareness of and appreciation for such work. Together, the Reece Museum and the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU, Eastman Credit Union, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, and Tennessee Arts Commission value, as we do, all that craft and craft artists contribute to our communities. Included in Tennessee’s fine craft legacy are not only the beauty of individual artworks, but also how craft and craft events bring a community together, and the effect of craft on the local and state economy.

“Awarding cash and recognition both encourages and rewards excellence and professionalism. Selection into the show or winning such a prestigious award builds an artist’s résumé and helps establish them within their chosen profession, often launching an artist’s craft career to the next level.”

The Best of Tennessee Craft 2016 Exhibition will be on display through December 2, 2016, and during Tennessee Craft Week, October 7-16, 2016. For more information on this celebration of more than 50 state and regional craft events, visit the Tennessee Craft website and make plans to meet the artists.

The Reece Museum will offer five special Saturday hours during this exhibition from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST, on September 10 and 24; October 8 and 22; and November 12. Members from Tennessee Craft—Northeast (the regional chapter of the statewide organization) will be on hand on each of these special Saturday dates to share their perspectives about the exhibition and their experiences as working artists. Working with the Reece Museum staff, regional chapter members are also showcasing some of their work in a display case adjacent to the Best of Tennessee 2016 Exhibition. Finally, although as of this writing final details are not set, some artists from the local chapter will also be in the museum to demonstrate their craft on select Saturdays during the exhibition’s run.

Other programming associated with the exhibition includes “The Working Artist” on Thursday, September 29, at 5:00 p.m. in the Reece Museum. This master class by art-business veteran Crista Cloutier is sponsored by the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts. Ms. Cloutier has sold millions of dollars of artwork to galleries, museums, and collectors, and will bring her insights to ETSU to share with student artists, the campus community, and the public. Admission is free.

For the convenience of museum visitors during the week when ETSU classes are in session (the museum’s regular hours are M-F, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), there are three designated parking spaces in front of the museum. For special needs, to arrange group tours, or to learn more about Saturday programming, please call the Reece Museum at (423) 439-4392 or visit The museum is located at 363 Stout Drive on the ETSU main campus.