Second & Commerce, Vol. 1 Iss. 4

Page 1

C larksville-Montgomery County, Tennessee
CENTER FOR ARTS & EDUCATION -ROXY REGIONAL THEATRE -MAINST4GE ALL SHOOK UP ��� , SfPT.10-24,2021 FREEDOM TRAIN OCT.15-23,2021 -+RAN'T HELP fAlliNG IN LOVE WIT��OlllWffl�.� �+ . . . . . --..��--� iltHf:�uliRIEN'STHE ROCKY HORROR SHOW OCT.28-30,2021 .. ���-- DISTRACTED NOV. 5-13,2021 . .. .. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE:THE MUSICAL ����..M �ov.25-om:10,2021 THE AGITATORS JAN.17-HB.1,2022 -.IIIIIIE!!B!!.N��, SCHOOLH.OUSE ROCK: LIVE.! JAN.21-HB.5,2022 AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' ffB.11-26, 2_022 ANGELS IN AMERICA �AR.11-26, �022 GODSPELL APR.8-23,2022 .. ���� DETROIT '67 MAY13-21,2022 . . CRY-BABY:THE MUSICAL - JUNf3-18,2022 ....._.._�ij THE STAR-SPANGLED GIRL JUlY8-23,2022 THE COLOR PURPLE AUG. 5-20,2022 .....�j � .A. TT .At CL�R�.��ihb� ��� -�... � ROXY REGIONAL THEATRE 100 FRANKLIN ST. CLARKSVILLE, TN 931-645-7699 ROXYREGIONALTHEATRE.ORG ,·



Frank Lott


Becky Wood


Yvette Campagna


Maegan Collins


Larry Richardson


Jacqueline Crouch

Ned Crouch

Philancy Holder

Terri Jordan

Kate Tallman

Shana Thornton

The mission of this publication is to foster creativity and champion our area’s unique cultural diversity. SECOND & COMMERCE expands the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center’s purpose through supporting the arts community, exploring local history and telling stories about the past, present and future of Clarksville.

“At this seminal moment, museum sustainability is like museum accessibility – a vital and integral part of museum excellence. I could not be more proud that the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is providing sustainability resources behind operations, education and communications. It is an investment towards the community the Museum serves.”

- Joyce Lee, Chair of the American Alliance of Museums Environment & Climate Network

The Museum has always been in the business of preservation – preserving art, preserving history, preserving traditions. We know that our mission extends beyond the walls of the Museum and necessitates a dedication to inclusion, accessibility and sustainability. However, being truly sustainable means much more than reducing energy consumption, adding less trash to the landfill or being “green” certified. It also means that we must raise the bar in all of our Museum departments. Led by our Collections Associate Kate Tallman, the Museum has launched our new and improved Sustainability Mission Statement:

The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center believes museums have the privilege and power to impact the sustainability and resiliency of their communities through education, exposure to the arts and thoughtful usage of natural resources.

We holistically approach sustainability by encouraging informed citizenship, while acknowledging that access to the arts and education, cultural heritage, availability of resources and a deeply rooted sense of place all directly contribute to happy, healthy and safe communities. Our comprehensive approach means we have mobilized all Museum departments in our efforts to maximize input and expertise from every employee and stakeholder.

I further believe a commitment to sustainability includes striving for excellence in all areas of our organization. This includes building and strengthening longterm relationships with a broad range of audiences. By doing so, we will remain relevant and reflect the true cultural, social and economic vitality and diverse citizenry of the region we serve.

Enjoy this issue of Second & Commerce.


Jamie Durrett, Chair

Thomasa Ross, Vice Chair

Paige Adkins Frazier Allen Dan Black Kell Black

Christina Clark* Joe Creek* Jim Diehr Darwin Eldridge Lawson Mabry Linda Nichols

Brendalyn Player Larry Richardson

Vondell Richmond* Wes Sumner Eleanor Williams* *denotes ex-officio

HOURS OF OPERATION Tuesdays–Saturdays 10 am–5 pm Sundays 1–5 pm Closed Mondays @customshousemuseum #customshousemuseum
Frank Lott
2 / SECOND & COMMERCE 1 / Director’s Letter 4 / Arts & Culture Calendar 14 / Volunteer Spotlight 28 / Seasons: The Museum Store 32 / Connect with Us TABLE OF CONTENTS CONTACT Advertising Inquiries Arts & Culture Events Article Submissions Please email Becky Wood at secondandcommerce The Clarksville Montgomery County Historical Museum (d.b.a. Customs House Museum & Cultural Center) is designated by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. © Customs House Museum & Cultural Center 2022-07/2022-4M LEFT: Olen Bryant Untitled Cherry, ca. 1990 RIGHT: Olen Bryant Young Priestess Ceramic, 2003 ON THE COVER: With 17 primary care and specialty providers located full time in the Clarksville area, Tennova Medical Group offers convenient, quality care for your family. From sore throats and fever to annual wellness visits and more specialized care, we’ve got you covered close to home. To schedule an appointment or learn more about our locations and specialties, please visit or call 855-515-0032. Cardiology • Primary Care • Gastroenterology • Urology • Vascular Surgery • Bariatric Surgery • General Surgery 17 PROVIDERS, 7 SPECIALTIES, 1 SOURCE: Quick appointments available with specialists and primary care providers. Telehealth visits available. TENNOVA MEDICAL GROUP Maegan Collins, photographer Museum Collection, Customs House Museum & Cultural Center See full story on page 16.


Inspiring Interiors

As the Signature Artist for the 38th annual Flying High fundraiser, artist Kitty Harvill is following in her mother’s footsteps. Take an exclusive look at the inspiration and process behind Peg’s Pony, a work of art that honors both the Harvill family and Museum history.

Warfield School Spirit Endures

Built in 1922 through the Julius Rosenwald Fund, the Warfield School served Black students in South Guthrie until 1968. This year marks the centennial anniversary of this community landmark, the last surviving Rosenwald schoolhouse in Montgomery County.

Perspectives on Olen Bryant

Sculptor, educator, mentor... so much more can be said about Olen Littleton Bryant, one of Clarksville’s most cherished artists and residents. In anticipation of the exhibit The Nature of Olen Bryant, hear from those who knew him academically, artistically and personally.

Vietnam: 2 Soldiers, 2 Artists, 2 Journeys Then & Now

Tennessee artists and longtime colleagues David Wright and Chuck Creasy never talked about their time in Vietnam – until now. This traveling exhibit features Wright’s sketches done in-country during his deployment in 1965 and Creasy’s watercolors from a much-anticipated trip back, 50 years older and a lifetime wiser.

Local Artworks Journey Home

A large collection of works by local artists has found a permanent home at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center. Once scattered among different branches of a local bank, the pieces finally come together for the exhibit Art of the Area, on display this September.

Collections Spotlight: Fun in the Sun

Dive back in time into the Museum archives! From the swimming pool at Dunbar Cave to Camp Linger Longer, we’re celebrating summertime with these photographs, postcards and other artifacts from our collections.

26 /
16 /
6 /


Call and Response: Collaborations by Greg Sand and Billy Renkl


Bold Expressions: The Art of Stephanie J. Brown THROUGH JULY 31

Vietnam: 2 Soldiers, 2 Artists, 2 Journeys Then & Now THROUGH AUGUST 14

Train Stop: Clarksville & The Locomotive THROUGH AUGUST 28

Annual Staff Art Exhibit


The Nature of Olen Bryant JULY 5 – SEPTEMBER 5

Illumination: The Art of Dr. John Stanton AUGUST 4 – OCTOBER 16

Thomas Adams: Pen & Inks from the Collection AUGUST 5 – OCTOBER 19

4th Annual Cohen Clinic at Centerstone Community Art Show AUGUST 22 – SEPTEMBER 22

Peripheries: New Work by Laurén Brady SEPTEMBER 9 – OCTOBER 30

Art of the Area SEPTEMBER 10 – OCTOBER 26

Spookies from the Collection SEPTEMBER 22 – NOVEMBER 6

Learn about Museum exhibits, programs and more at



DOWNTOWN @ SUNDOWN: ABSOLUTE QUEEN Downtown Commons Friday, July 1 | 7-10pm


Liberty Park Sunday, July 3 | 5-9:30pm


Downtown Artists Co-op July 7 – 30


Multiple Studios; Erin’s Farm Saturday, July 9 | 10am-3pm


Downtown Commons Saturday, July 9 | 7:30-9pm


Roxy Regional Theatre Wednesday, July 13 | 7pm


Downtown Clarksville Thursday, July 14 | 5-8pm


Customs House Museum & Cultural Center Thursday, July 14 | 5:30-7pm


ACE PARTY BAND Downtown Commons Friday, July 15 | 7-10pm

FLYING HIGH: LIVE AND LET FLY Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel Saturday, July 16 | 5pm

OLD GLORY SATURDAY NIGHT CONCERT SERIES: MUSIC FOR MERCY Old Glory Distilling Co. Saturday, July 16 | 7-10pm


Liberty Park Saturday, July 23 | Sunset



Downtown Clarksville Thursday, Aug 4 | 5-8pm


Downtown Artists Co-op Aug 4 – 27


Downtown Commons Friday, Aug 5 | 7-10pm


Old Glory Distilling Co. Saturday, Aug 6 | 7-10pm


Downtown Commons Friday, Aug 19 | 7-10pm


Wade Bourne Nature Center at Rotary Park Saturday, Aug 20 | 8am-1pm

ICE CREAM – O – RAMA Customs House Museum & Cultural Center Saturday, Aug 20 | 1-4pm


Liberty Park Saturday, Aug 20 | Sunset


Downtown Commons Saturday, Aug 27 | 7:30-9pm




Downtown Clarksville Thursday, Sep 1 | 5-8pm


Downtown Artists Co-op Sep 1 – Oct 1


Downtown Commons Friday, Sep 2 | 7-10pm



Old Glory Distilling Co Saturday, Sep 3 | 7-10pm


McGregor Park

Friday, Sep 9 | 5-10pm Saturday, Sep 10 | 11am-11pm


Downtown Commons Friday, Sep 16 | 7-10pm


Downtown Commons Saturday, Sep 17 | 7:30-9pm



Wilma Rudolph Event Center Sunday, Sep 18 | 8am


Immaculate Conception Church Sunday, Sep 18 | 12-4:30pm


Heritage Park Saturday, Sep 24 | Sunset


Downtown Clarksville Friday, Sep 30 | 4-9pm Saturday, Oct 1 | 8am-5pm

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Kitty Harvill Channels Family for Flying High Signature Watercolor

As Kitty Harvill and her husband Christoph renovate their new home in Clarksville, inspiration blooms from the 19th century walls. Scraping past multiple layers of old wallpaper, shapes appear among the plaster and glue – an eagle perched over the fireplace, monkeys atop a doorframe, flora abounds. As an award-winning artist and illustrator, Kitty has experienced a lifetime of finding inspiration in unexpected places.

Each year, the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center chooses a single artist to craft a signature work of art for Flying High, their largest annual fundraiser. As the Signature Artist for Flying High 2022, Kitty Harvill found inward inspiration in more ways than one. After years of splitting her time between Arkansas and Brazil, her recent move back to Clarksville marks a return to a community rich with family history.

The Harvill name should be familiar to most Clarksvillians. Kitty’s grandfather, Halbert Harvill, served as the president of Austin Peay State College from 1946 to 1962 and was responsible for much of the school’s early growth. Her parents, Evans and Peg Harvill, were lifelong art and community advocates, and Peg was an accomplished artist herself. She was the Flying High Signature Artist a dozen times, including for the gala’s first ten years, where she painted a series of watercolors of the 1898 U.S. Post Office and Customs House building.

As Kitty was contemplating and developing her vision for this signature piece, she realized that while there were many distinctive depictions of the


TOP: The 2022 Flying High Signature Watercolor in MIDDLE: Kitty Harvill in her home studio. BOTTOM: (right) Interior of Customs House Building Photographer unknown, circa 1980s Archives Collection, Customs House Museum & Cultural Center

Customs House building, there were no paintings of the interior of the Museum. She met with Museum staff to review photographs in the archives, where a particular image of the old Postmaster’s office caught her eye. “I was completely captivated by a black-and-white interior photo,” she said. “The play of light, the sense of intimacy... I simply couldn’t let it go.” When her ideas began to come together, she thought about the juxtaposition of interiors and exteriors on a deeper level.

“My mother painted the exterior of the Museum so many times, and so many people knew her and her contributions from the outside. But I knew her from the inside,” Kitty explained. “She was very much a disciplinarian when I was growing up, but when I went off to school and was studying art, our whole relationship moved into this era of colleagues and art friends.”

Kitty left Clarksville after high school, ultimately racking up various art degrees from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, University of Illinois at Chicago and Ray College of Design. Despite the distance, she was in constant contact with her mother. “Anything really good that happened, anything really terrible that happened – my first impulse was to pick up the phone and call Mom,” she said. “I knew every piece she was working on, she knew everything that I was working on... we’d share discoveries, tips, critiques.”

The two began their art careers at the same time. “When I went off to college and majored in art, she went back to Austin Peay and started taking art classes,” said Kitty of her mother, who quickly found a passion for the subject. “She stopped gardening, she stopped sewing, they started going out to eat, because she was just all in on her art. She was doing all these different artistic things, but she fell in love with watercolor.”

Kitty started as an oil painting major, but was living in a small space that was not conducive to the fumes and turpentine. On a visit to Clarksville after graduating, she and Peg attended a watercolor class at Austin Peay taught by Max Hochstetler, and she was hooked. Watercolor became her main working medium, until she moved to Brazil where the tropical humidity is so high that works on paper are not in very high demand. She started working in oil and open acrylics, but has always been drawn to the element of surprise that comes with watercolor. She knew this was the best medium to capture the light and transparency of her signature piece, in which she aimed to incorporate her mother both spiritually and literally.

With that original black-and-white photograph as her foundation, Kitty planned to set a scene of a family visiting the Postmaster in the 1930s – complete with young Peggy, an eight-year-old girl with her hobby horse, a nod to the fundraiser’s horseracing venue in Oak Grove. She used a photograph of her mother from 1938 and staged a photoshoot with staff and friends of the Museum in Heritage Hall, which was still functioning as a post office until 1939. Starting with a sketch on a full sheet of watercolor paper, she used a careful combination of primary colors to form the soft grays of the iconic windows. Building from there, the final result is Peg’s Pony, a work of art that honors Peg Harvill and the history of the Customs House in a remarkable way.




"My mother painted the exterior of the Museum so many times, and so many people knew her and her contributions from the outside. But I knew her from the inside."
Untitled Peg Harvill, 1984
Flying High Signature Watercolor
Untitled Peg Harvill, 1989
Flying High Signature Watercolor
Untitled Peg Harvill, 1991 Flying High Signature Watercolor


As a child, I was convinced that my mother, Peg Harvill, could do anything. I’m still convinced of that today.

She didn’t just sew... she tailored.

She didn’t just cook... she tackled elaborate recipes and hosted wonderful dinner parties.

She didn’t just garden... she had a greenhouse and a row of irises, from palest cream to darkest ebony, that people would make Sunday afternoon drives to see.

And, when she began painting, she didn’t just delight our family and those who bought her work. She gave generously, donating her paintings to various worthy causes.

As I looked through previous pieces created for Flying High, I realized that there were no paintings of the interior of the Museum. Then I thought, so many people had an exterior view of my mother and her many talents and community service... but I knew her interior. I don’t think anyone knew my mother quite as well as I did. She was a very private person in many ways, and I was her best friend. She shared her hopes, her dreams, her pain and her secrets with me.

How appropriate, then, to paint the interior of the Museum and dedicate it to the “interior” of the woman that I knew and loved, the woman who could do anything... and did.

Kitty is known best for her nature and wildlife art, as well as her personal dedication to aiding the conservation of endangered species and their respective habitats. Along with her husband, she founded Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN), a collection of nature and wildlife artists serving the conservation community with original images for use in promoting awareness. She is a signature member of Artists for Conservation (AFC) and The Wildlife Art Society International (TWASI), and her work is included in collections across the United States, Brazil, Germany and Singapore. This year, Kitty will receive the 2022 Simon Combes Conservation Award, which is the most prestigious award and highest honor that AFC presents to acknowledge artistic excellence and extraordinary contributions to the conservation cause.

Kitty Harvill did not anticipate a move back to her hometown after all these years, but a visit to town in 2021 to attend her father’s funeral brought about a sense of community and kindness that could not be ignored. “Christoph looked at me as we were headed back to Arkansas, and he said ‘Why are we moving back to Little Rock? Why aren't we moving to Clarksville?’” Three days later, Kitty found the house – a slice of Clarksville history on Greenwood Avenue, built in the 1850s. She looks forward to reconnecting with the city once again as she fills her new home with custom murals and continues her family legacy of art and advocacy.

Peg’s Pony will be auctioned off at the 38th annual Flying High fundraiser on July 16, with all proceeds going towards the Museum and its mission.

LEFT: Peg’s Pony Kitty Harvill, 2022 Flying High Signature Watercolor BELOW: Through her wildlife art, Kitty aims to raise awareness about conservation efforts around the world.


Celebrates 100 Years of Community Service

100 years ago, in 1922, Black neighbors and friends in South Guthrie walked to a new school together for the first time. They were as young as five years old, and the eldest among them was about sixteen. The students of the Warfield School, as it was named then, were in grades first through eighth.

Rural Black communities throughout the South needed schools during the Reconstruction era and beyond. The town of South Guthrie, situated on Tennessee’s border with Kentucky, was one of many in Montgomery County. There, the Warfield School was constructed as part of the Rosenwald Fund initiative to provide an improved education to Black communities, primarily agrarian, throughout the South.


Author, educator and orator Booker T. Washington wanted to create schools for Black communities in the South after the Civil War. Into the 20th century, many Black children still attended schools in dilapidated buildings or shared space with local churches and lodges.

In 1910, Julius Rosenwald, a Jewish clothing merchant who went on to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Sears, Roebuck & Company, read Washington’s book Up from Slavery and within the next year, they forged a friendship. In 1912, Washington asked Rosenwald to serve on the Board of Directors for the Tuskegee Institute, and Rosenwald kept that position for the rest of his life.

Eventually, Washington asked Rosenwald to help with building schools. Sears, Roebuck & Company was known for selling pre-cut home-building kits, which were delivered by train across the United States. After increased pressure from Washington and seeing an opportunity to use the building kits, in 1917, Rosenwald created the Julius Rosenwald Fund to help build schools for Black children in the South. Communities

TOP: Warfield School (1922-1968)

Photographer unknown, November 23, 1922

Courtesy of Montgomery County Archives

MIDDLE: (left) Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

Geo. G. Rockwood, photographer, 1909

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

(right) Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932)

Bain News Service, publisher, ca. 1915

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

BOTTOM: Two-teacher community school plans

Courtesy of


could choose school designs based on their needs and ability to fundraise for supplies and builders. The Rosenwald Fund was set up so that communities covered part of the cost of the school's construction and were directly involved in the entire process.

In total, Montgomery County residents constructed nearly twenty Rosenwald school buildings across the county, but the one in South Guthrie is the only still standing, now as a community center. In its original incarnation, the Warfield School welcomed students from 1922 until 1968, when the City of Clarksville integrated its school system and closed it down.


“One thing that sticks in my mind is that it was a little tworoom school with a kitchenette area, and we had outdoor toilet facilities. One was for boys, and one for the girls,” Deborah Saunders-Johnson recalled. She attended the Warfield School as a student for first and second grades (1958-60), and then again for the eighth grade (1965-66). The main difference she can recall between those years is that in the eighth grade, Montgomery County began catering hot lunches for students every day.

“You had one teacher for the four different classes,” SaundersJohnson remembered. “The first through the fourth grade, a lady by the name of Mrs. [Delonia] Edwards, she taught that… And then, a lady by the name of Mrs. Bertha [Rives] Quarles taught the fifth through the eighth grades.”

When asked if she could recall how many classmates she had in each grade, Saunders-Johnson said, “I can’t remember

You’re invited to explore Montgomery County and discover our artistic community at the first Visit the Central Civitan Club on Facebook or email for more information Spend the day navigating 7 LOCAL ARTISAN STUDIOS and ENJOY AN OUTDOOR RECEPTION with LIVE MUSIC & MORE at Erin’s Farm HOSTED IN PARTNERSHIP BY CENTRAL CIVITAN CLUB
Map of Rosenwald Schools in the southeastern United States Courtesy of Photo: David Smith, Clarksville Aerial Photography

off the top of my head, but just give me time, and I’ll remember everybody. Let’s see... That’s two, Patricia. Three, Joyce.” She became quieter, murmuring, reciting inaudibly. Then, after some thought, “About ten of us altogether.”

Saunders-Johnson conferred with another former student, Ronald Johnson, who attended the Warfield School from first through sixth grades (1962-68), until it was closed due to desegregation. “I’ve never really gotten that school out of my system,” Johnson said. “I think everyone who went there has the same memories of it being a great place to go to school.” He remembered that the students sat at long tables designated for each grade with ten or more students, totaling about forty students per class.

The students were all from the surrounding community of South Guthrie, and they walked to school together every day. “I’m still friends with pretty much all of them. We have some that no longer live in this city, and two of them are deceased,” SaundersJohnson said.

South Guthrie is a small community, and in fact, Saunders-Johnson’s husband is Ronald Johnson’s cousin. Both stressed how involved the parents were in the school. “We lived really close to each other,” Johnson said. “The same people you played with in the summer, you went to school with in the fall. In the mornings, there would be a street full of kids all going to the school. We were taught that the older ones watched over the little ones.” They reminisced about how often one of their mothers walked with them for a stretch, and then another mother would take up the walk along the way.

“When you got there, naturally, it was pretty structured. You had to pull off your coats and get to your classroom,” said Saunders-Johnson, describing a typical day at the school. “You had to give the Pledge of Allegiance, and from there, you started your course. Usually, first grade started off first.” Each subsequent grade followed with coursework. Due to that, she thought that the next grade “wasn’t a difficult class because you had already heard a little bit of it before.”

Johnson recalled how the teachers stressed recitation during daily devotionals, as well as etiquette for entering a room, greeting elders and eating properly. He also described the assemblies in the spring and during the Christmas holidays, when teachers would construct a stage for performances. In May, the eldest students erected a maypole and the

school hosted spring festivals. “Mrs. Quarles was a poet,” Johnson explained. “During those assemblies, she would always have a student recite a poem that she wrote.” Johnson said that all the students felt equipped because of the one-on-one time that teachers took with their students.

Saunders-Johnson, who went on to graduate from Austin Peay State University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing (’74) and an MBA from the University of Indianapolis (formerly Indiana Central University, ’83), attributed her academic preparation for high school and college to her two teachers, Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Quarles.

“The teachers were adamant that you were going to learn,” she said. “They took the time with you to see that you learned before you could advance on. It wasn’t this, ‘Oh, you didn’t get it today? Just go ahead on to the next chapter.’ No. You got it. They made sure that you got it, so that was really nice to see teachers really care.”

After the eighth grade, SaundersJohnson went on to attend Burt High School and Todd County High School. “Going to Burt, I felt equipped because the teachers there at Warfield always emphasized that we should do extremely well. They kept focusing on, ‘I want you to

do better. Do your best.’ So, when I went [to Burt High], I felt that academically, I was ready. I think most of us did. Sure, when you first got there, it was something new, something different, but you got in there and developed friends. The teachers were pretty much the same as the Warfield teachers in emphasizing, ‘You are here to learn.’”

Johnson agreed. “They really did value their time with the kids,” he said of his teachers. “The families knew that. You know, most of us who went to school there, our families also went there. My father passed in 2019, and as I was going through his things, I found his report card from 1940.” Johnson went on to graduate from Clarksville High in 1973.


Current visitors can walk across the same original pine wood floors inside the schoolroom replica that Mrs. Quarles walked across as she taught classes. Roll books are on display in a case. Desks form rows in front of the blackboard where photographs of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are framed on either side.

The actual Warfield School and larger structure was eventually renovated and is now known as the South Guthrie

In its original incarnation, the Warfield School welcomed students from 1922 until 1968.
Deborah Saunders-Johnson and Ronald Johnson both attended the Warfield School in the 1960s, before the school was closed in 1968.

Ode to Youth

Youth of today, bon voyage!

Opportunities await you, A bid for every stage. There is no time like the present. Be grateful, love and be pleasant.

Youth of today, remember thy Creator, You need divine guidance, Patience, faith, and self-control on your way to a profitable goal.

Youth of today, bon voyage!


Bertha Rives Quarles taught at nine elementary schools, including the Warfield School, during her teaching career for Clarksville-Montgomery County. Born in 1902 in Christian County, Kentucky, Quarles came from a family that focused on education. Her parents petitioned the Christian County School Board for a new school for Black children when she was in elementary school. This fostered young Bertha’s lifelong dedication to education.

As an educator, Quarles not only taught in elementary schools, but she also conducted night classes for adults who had dropped out of school or never received an opportunity to attend school until later in life. Her “dedication to learning and working with youth did not go unnoticed,” according to Joe Ann Burgess and Phil Winchell Petrie in their book, The Odyssey of Burt High School. In 1962, the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce awarded Bertha Rives Quarles the Distinguished Service Award “for outstanding devotion to young people.” She was an amateur poet and dedicated some of her verses, including “Ode to Youth,” to the children that she taught.

By the time she passed away in 1990, “Quarles generously shared her knowledge and passion for learning, thereby affecting the lives of thousands of people living in rural Montgomery County,” as noted by Burgess and Petrie.

Community Center. The restoration was completed in 2013 by architect Lane Lyle of Lyle-CookMartin Architects, who won the Chapter Award for his architectural design work from the American Institute of Architects' Middle Tennessee Chapter.

“We thought we had a winner with this design, and it turned out to be,” Lyle said. “It was the last project I did as the owner of this firm. In hindsight, this project was sort of the high watermark of my career.”

The South Guthrie Community Center contains a replica of the original classroom, as well as modern meeting places where people can gather for public and private events. The current building has a full kitchen, a patio, a playground, a large activities room and more.

“I knew nothing about Rosenwald schools when we undertook the project. Zero. I’d never even heard of them,” Lyle said. “I think it’s probably one of the most fantastic stories in this part of the world, and one of the more obscure.”

The design team went through archival photographs from Fisk University and members of the community in order to bring such an important place back to life. The county also conducted a series of meetings with the community about how to renovate the space. The process became shared by the people of South Guthrie, and they decided to restore the original schoolhouse as part of the new community center.

“It was a small project and simple, but it all came together so well from every point of view,” Lyle said.

“The actual building itself had no foundation, it was built on the ground. We had to underpin the whole thing, jack it up, pour footings and put a block foundation under it. So, that was a challenge.”

Rosenwald schools were built from kits containing ready-made materials cut to size, based on plans ranging from one to eight classrooms. The Warfield School was a two-room design, specifically built from the plan designated for “East-West Orientation.” Depending on the site, the school building’s orientation changed in order to utilize sunlight, since most of the schools had no electricity. They used a wood-burning or coal-burning stove for heat and natural ventilation.

In the process of designing the schoolroom exhibition space in 2013, the design team, including Frank Lott (of BLF Marketing at the time, now Executive Director of the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center), acquired several vintage desks at a flea market. They noticed various names carved into the wooden desktops, some with dates from 1914 onward. One name was Lane Marable.

Lott recalled that Lane Lyle’s name was Lane M. Lyle, and soon discovered that the “M” did, in fact, stand for Marable. Lyle’s grandfather was Lane Marable, an educator who coincidentally was Chairman of the Montgomery County School Board during the construction of Burt

In addition to rentable event spaces, the South Guthrie Community Center contains a replica of the original Warfield School classroom.

High School. At the time, he received significant pushback for insisting on the construction of an all-Black high school for residents of Clarksville and the surrounding counties.

Through the passage of time, Lyle sat down at the same desk where his grandfather carved his name. By serendipity, the desk made its way to the Warfield School, one that was so important to the Black residents of South Guthrie – many of whom would eventually attend Burt High School.

The Rosenwald Fund was so popular and effective that over 4,977 new schools were constructed by the time the fund ended in 1932. Very few of those schools are still preserved today.

The South Guthrie Community Center celebrates a rare 100-year milestone this year and serves as a testament to the importance of these schools in United States history.

Through the passage of time, Lyle sat down at the same desk where his grandfather carved his name.
TOP: (left) Architect Lane Lyle sits at the desk where his grandfather, Lane Marable, etched his name over a century earlier. (right) South Guthrie Community Center Tom Gatlin, photographer, 2013 Courtesy of Lyle-Cook-Martin Architects


In the fall of 1988, a banker, a wholesale hardware salesman, a car parts retailer and an insurance agent came together to build a seasonal model train layout, setting in motion a tradition that continues to this day at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center.

At the time, the Museum wanted to run model trains during the holiday season from November to January. A layout was built by volunteers in the basement of team member C. David Elliott and transported to the Museum each winter. The setup continued to grow over time, and when the Museum expanded in 1996, an entire gallery was assigned to an all-new permanent O gauge operating layout. Today, the F&M Bank Huff & Puff Express Model Trains run on one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region and are maintained by a passionate group of a dozen volunteers.

"For me, it has been several decades of fun and fellowship,” said Elliott, who inherited an early interest in trains from his father.

Friendship and family are at the core of this longstanding tradition, as the hobby is passed down through generations.

The Train Crew operates five trains around the layout, which is full of interactive push buttons and scenes that change seasonally.

The exhibit is one of the Museum’s most enduring attractions, and the enthusiasm and devotion of the Crew is always on display.

“I’ve been interested in trains and model railroading since I received a pull toy train for my third birthday,” said longtime volunteer Carl Eisemann. “When they started running this here at the Museum, I thought it would be a lot of fun to get involved.”

Eisemann recruited fellow train enthusiast Richard Houde, who loves to experience the joy and excitement of the kids who visit the exhibit.

“Every time I came to town to visit family, my dad would be down here working on the trains,” said chief engineer Henry Livingstone, who joined the Train Crew upon moving back to Clarksville in 2002.

LEFT: The Crew has collected over 800 pieces of rolling stock, so there is always something new to see.

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: TOP: Train Crew members Richard Houde, Carl Eisemann, Kenneth Hummer, C. David Elliott and Henry Livingstone dedicate countless hours to the curation and upkeep of the model train exhibit.

His father, George Livingstone, was a member of the original team that built the first layout back in 1988. Volunteer Kenneth Hummer got involved over ten years ago because of his son’s passion for trains. “My three-year-old son wanted to come and see the trains every chance he got,” explained Hummer, whose son Michael is now 18 and a new member of the volunteer Crew himself.

“The Huff & Puff Express has certainly stood the test of time,” said Curator of Education Sue Lewis, who has seen the exhibit evolve over the last three decades. “It is the Crew’s dedication to this project that keeps it moving forward. Beyond their interest in model trains and railroading, they also have an enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge with visitors of all ages.”

The Museum is always looking for volunteers to share their time and experience with our visitors! Visit become-a-member/volunteer for more information about volunteer opportunities. The F&M Bank Huff & Puff Express Model Trains run Sundays, 1 – 4 pm & Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 pm.

TOP: The Crew working on scenery construction for the permanent operating layout, October 1998.

MIDDLE: The Crew changes the exhibit’s trains, scenery and interactive elements for holidays and other special occasions.

BOTTOM: The Museum’s model train layout has over 360 feet of track and five trains that run simultaneously.

Friendship and family are at the core of this longstanding tradition, as the hobby is passed down through generations.


Olen Bryant in studio, 1970s Courtesy of the Tennessee State Library & Archives Olen Littleton Bryant Papers, Box 4, Folder 25


There are times, while you are driving your car through life, that you notice certain markers along the way. Markers that you just glance at in passing, as you travel down well-remembered highways. They are measurements of the trip, recalling bits of memory of having passed them before. For the most part, there is comfort in remembering.

One of the first journeys I took down a now long-traveled highway was in 1967, in a VW bug loaded with a stereo, my raggedy chic clothes (flare jeans with a paisley chevron at each heel), some books, a Texaco gas card and a small fired clay sculpture. I was headed north, out of Nashville, to a small college situated in Clarksville, Tennessee. The car, books, clothes and gas card are of little importance – the piece of sculpture is another story.

Seven dollars comes hard to someone sacking groceries after school in the early 1960s. It was three hours of snapping open hard brown paper sacks, double-bagging and dragging a loaded cart through snow in an unplowed lot.

Seven dollars was hard-won money, and choices on how to spend it were carefully plotted. I never had the nerve to tell my friends that I spent my seven dollars on a small ceramic figure, picked off the shelf from a line of other small pieces made by a sculptor at the Nashville Artist Guild. That brave purchase and its maker remain significant markers in my life and experience as an artist, and as a person. In a curious and roundabout way, they formed the route leading to this time and place.

That little ceramic figure by Olen Bryant has traveled with me from my room on Sneed Avenue in Nashville, out into the adult world, residing with me wherever I went. I can put my hands on it at this very moment.

Growing up the child of artist parents, it seemed obvious that I should advance my interests and tend the “natural talent” I was told I possessed. I followed artist Olen Bryant to Austin Peay State University, where he was chairing the sculpture and ceramics department. In the early 1970s, at Olen's urging and armed with his kind letter of recommendation, I found myself within the walls of the legendary Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan with an MFA degree in my sights. Michael Hall, chair of the sculpture department there, proclaimed wryly as I entered his studio for an interview, “So, you are Crouch... from Olen Bryant U.”

I survived. And as the end of my twoyear stint neared, the future loomed close. Gas lines, a dear and fragile job market and uncertain opportunities met our graduation. One day, I picked up the phone to hear Olen, back in Clarksville, inquiring in his soft, direct, but languished manner, if “someone” (meaning me) would be interested in returning to, as he put it, “get some teaching experience under my wings.”

The ensuing years have led us through what time is: a labyrinth of experiences and chance opportunities. Now, I find myself in a position to focus on the celebration of a consummate educator, mentor, humanitarian and artist of the first order. Olen Bryant was one of the most unassuming, self-effacing, yet influential and creative spirits to ever call Tennessee home.

Thanks to dear Olen, who started out making clay babies from creek mud and found himself catapulted into the framework of a larger national consciousness, now and again testing the edges of Zen with a mallet and chisel.

Olen Bryant Untitled (actual size) Ceramic, ca. 1960s Courtesy of Ned Crouch Tennessee Crafts Fair at Centennial Park, 1975 Courtesy of the Tennessee State Library & Archives Olen Littleton Bryant Papers, Box 4, Folder 26


Practicing sculptors in the post-World War II American South were few, particularly abstractionists like Olen Bryant. The European shift toward abstract and non-objective art had gone largely unobserved by those distant from New York, leaving a public with little appreciation for any art that departed from the accepted realistic style. It took time for ideas to travel and root. Only the truly dedicated, like Olen, persevered in the face of such resistance.

Most artists chose large urban areas in which to work, enabling them to find creative stimulation in the proximity of like-minded artists and support for their work through galleries and patrons. Those who preferred to settle in smaller cities and rural areas found their career paths lonelier. To some, the resulting solitude offered time for experimentation unhampered by

expectations of the public or the art market.

During the Great Depression, the federal government provided a lifeline of financial aid and work for artists through several New Deal agencies. But in the postwar years, artists were on their own for sustenance, commissions and places to work. In one sense, universities filled that gap through their art departments, enabling practicing sculptors with credentials to teach and continue making art. Art schools, such as Cranbrook Academy where Olen received his MFA after the war, and universities across the country became spaces where enlightened art instructors struggled to come to terms with the art of their own time.

The Art Students League of New York, where Olen studied for one summer, provided significant


ABOVE: Olen Bryant working on a hackberry figure, 1960s Courtesy of the Tennessee State Library & Archives Olen Littleton Bryant Papers, Box 4, Folder 31

foundation, support and training for early modern sculptors before him. Many of the artists of the 1930s and 1940s were European immigrants who taught or influenced the next generation of sculptors who, in their turn, passed ideas to others. For them, carving directly into the sculptural medium was a way to escape sculpture as it was taught by the art academies. Traditional academies focused on producing representational clay and plaster sculptures to be cast in bronze or carved in marble by workshop artisans abroad. These practices, which removed the artist from direct contact with the finished work by one or more steps, turned many sculptors against the academies.

World War II was a watershed of change in the arts, cracking the shell of American isolationism. By the mid-1940s, the work of modern European pace-setters like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse awakened countless sculptors to the power of abstraction. American artists found a new way of looking at the world, even if it was accepted first by only a few enlightened patrons.

One point of stylistic departure for post-war American artists was the simplification of form in African and Iberian art that Picasso had acknowledged more than three decades earlier. Olen’s ongoing intellectual involvement with the arts of non-Western sculpture and his affinity with abstractions of early cultures continued this trend. His association with the World Crafts Council gave him a first-hand awareness of the arts of various cultures. In addition to his constant study of other times and places, his travels introduced him to a broad spectrum of art and artists, adding to the universality that is a major element in his sculpture.

The minimal detail in Olen's work added to the creation of a mystique beyond the familiar. Since the age of the earliest clay and stone fertility images, selective abstraction has had that effect, but prehistoric influences and those of other cultures were largely ignored as “primitive” until after the mid-20th century in the West.

Through his training and unceasing artistic experiences, Olen, like sculptors before him, became proficient in all methods and materials, working in the round and in various degrees of relief. It is the attitude toward form, rather than method, that makes the work of these contemporary artists differ from representational sculpture of the past 600 years.

American portrait sculpture and public monuments have proved largely faithful to the representational style that the general public admires. Commissions for realistic memorial sculpture continue to provide artists with a source of income, but some artists have successfully challenged that preference and created large scale abstract monuments, as Olen’s A Sentinel at APSU demonstrates. This huge, abstract bronze form – part angel, part unknown protector – is as instantly identifiable as an Olen Bryant as is his smallest Sleeping Stone.

Many who taught at universities and art schools, as Olen did, dedicated themselves to forming and advancing an American abstract art through their own sculpture and that of their students. Bringing modern sculpture into 20th-century America was not an easy task, but a dedicated group of artists did just that. The pendulum of style, materials and techniques may continue to swing, but sculpture that asserts itself by quality of concept, confidence of composition and mastery of technique endures. And that is where the art of Olen Bryant stands, secure in its excellence.

Philancy Holder, PhD (1929-2021) was an art historian and Professor Emerita of Austin Peay State University, having taught art history there for 20 years.

TOP: Olen Bryant at New Deal Studio, 2007 Photo by Monica Safko BOTTOM: Olen Bryant Old Ironing Board Poplar, 2004 Photo by Monica Safko


Most of us have a story about a teacher who made a difference in our lives. My relationship with Olen began during my freshman year as an art major at Austin Peay, and while I did not have him as a professor that year, his presence was always intriguing as he carved away in the large sculpture studio. Olen's impact was far-reaching, his teaching style dealt with more than technique. He taught by example. One could return, long after classes had ended, and find professor Olen, mallet in hand, carving on a variety of pieces in progress. He would acknowledge your presence and almost always begin with a question.

His questions rarely centered on ordinary topics – they were more about what you thought about life in general, delving into deeper arenas. I soon became aware that he was assisting me on my journey

of self-discovery and development into adulthood. It was always more than art with Olen. It was you, in the moment, only you. He had a gift for making his students believe they were unique and capable of fulfilling their dreams.

Most of my college professors fit the expected attire and, to some extent, behavioral mold of the day. Olen was unique. He was the only man I knew who wore sandals, adding thick socks in the winter for warmth. Olen was open to all areas of creativity. His respect for what, at the time, was thought of as too crafty or mainstream to be revered as formal art broadened his students’ appreciation for work outside the “normal” gallery world. His interest in traveling during the summer, sometimes with the World Crafts Council, added to his mystique. His travels extended beyond the typical tour of European countries. He explored the art and culture of Ireland, Japan, Mexico and Peru. We still hang the hand-stitched ornaments he brought back from Peru

on our Christmas tree. Olen enjoyed teaching about these cultures and their philosophies, though not in a typical classroom manner. His method was conversational.

Lucky are the chosen ones who receive lessons beyond the classroom routine. Those who spend extra time learning at the side of a master teacher, whose examples and careful questioning bring out the hidden layers of a student deemed worthy. The master teacher encourages a deeper, lifelong change, enhancing their future and building a foundation that has bridged time. For many of us, Olen made all the difference. He is and will forever be our beloved mentor.

TOP: (left) Olen Bryant A Sentinel Bronze, 1986 Collection of Austin Peay State University (right) Governor Phil Bredesen, Olen Bryant and First Lady Andrea Conte with the 2007 Governor’s Distinguished Artist Award. BOTTOM: Olen Bryant A Gift Walnut, 1993 Photo by Monica Safko


There is something magical about visiting the home and studio of a sculptor. The creativity is everywhere – finished pieces that guard the grounds, works in progress lined up in temporary abandonment upon grass, dirt or studio corners. That’s exactly how it was visiting Olen at the York Street house or in Cottontown. I always enjoyed meandering through his pieces as he watched for my reaction with seemingly great amusement, occasionally throwing out a slowly drawn statement about the piece. On my way out, he would always send me home with a snack for the road.

While Olen has always been a beloved icon regionally, his art is known well beyond our state. Whenever we show his work, I receive inquiries from as far away as California. An artist once told me that the best thing another artist could hope for was to have a recognizable style. Indeed, Olen did. Through

multiple mediums, there is a particular personality that appears in all his work. When you come across it unexpectedly, it always brings a smile to your face.

For our 2022 exhibition, The Nature of Olen Bryant, we are happy to partner with the LeQuire Gallery of Nashville. Alan LeQuire and his team are more than just representatives of Olen’s work – they have had a long-standing friendship and adoration of the man.

It is our hope that The Nature of Olen Bryant will find its way to many other communities to enjoy. We are happy to say it will travel to the West Tennessee Regional Arts Center in January. Until then, I hope everyone can come and enjoy the talents of this Clarksville treasure that we all miss.

The Nature of Olen Bryant is on display at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center from July 5 to September 5. Excerpts from this text first appeared in Olen Bryant: A Retrospective, a 2007 Museum publication.

Clarksville, TN (931) 647-1501 | Springfield, TN (615) 382-4420 BATSONNOLAN.COM Clarksville, TN (931) 647-1501 | Springfield, TN (615) 382-4420 BATSONNOLAN.COM Clarksville, TN (931) 647-1501 | Springfield, TN (615) 382-4420 BATSONNOLAN.COM Pottery Studio | Art Gallery 115 Franklin St Clarksville, TN Rivercityclay@gmail com 931-542-6615 B R I N G I N G T H E A R T O F H A N D M A D E P O T T E R Y T O D O W N T O W N C L A R K S V I L L E LET YOUR CLAY JOURNEY SHOP. BOOK A CLASS BEGIN.
Olen Bryant Untitled Cherry,
ca. 1990
Photo by Monica Safko

SECOND & COMMERCE: These artworks strike a different tone than most other art exhibits related to the Vietnam War. How did this show come together for you two?

CHUCK CREASY: We never talked about Vietnam. We both knew we were there, just didn’t discuss it. When I came back, and I know a lot of Vietnam vets feel the same way... it was like I was coming back to the world. That was a different thing over there, I was leaving it all behind. But I always wanted to go back, I talked about that for years. So, when I turned 70 in 2018, my daughter and youngest son said “Dad, we’re taking you back to Vietnam for your birthday.”

DAVID WRIGHT: When Chuck and I started talking about this show... it wasn’t the anguish of war that we wanted to project. A big part of it is the people. That's what the exhibit primarily shows, not the combat. I did drawings all throughout my year there, and some more when I came back based on photographs I had taken. That’s what I related to – the people I served with, the people that I knew and met... some we lost.

I’ve been to several Vietnam art shows since the 80s, and as I recall, most of them are of anguish and pain. War is not the good side of anything, of course, but hopefully our show projects a different aspect of what we experienced. The impact of the paintings Chuck has done... I don’t know if 'healing' is the right word or not. To go back to somewhere where you experienced so much pain and anguish 50 years earlier, to see what it has become today, to portray that in full color.

CC: Like David, I’ve seen a lot of Vietnam shows that were strictly combat-oriented. I saw enough of that in real life, I didn’t need to see that in one dimension on paper. The difference in our show is that the underlying tone of it, I think, is uplifting. It's what happened to a country that was torn completely apart, and had been for years. When I was there, I was out in the bush with an infantry company... it was not pleasant. But underlying what I felt was the beauty of that country

and the strength and tenacity of From helicopters and hand grenades to watercolors and canvases, two Tennessee artists and veterans have come together for a one-of-a-kind show highlighting their visual interpretations of Vietnam. David Wright’s sketches and photographs from his tour in 1965 combine with Chuck Creasy’s modern watercolors for the exhibit Vietnam: 2 Soldiers, 2 Artists, 2 Journeys Then & Now.

the people. It kind of haunted me after I came back, what happened over there. I wanted to go back and see what they had done, and they have reinvented that country. It doesn’t surprise me, because the people have so much ingenuity and creativity. When I went back and sketched and took photos, I gravitated toward the people and the beauty of the country... I tried to record that on paper.

S&C: What do you hope audiences take away from this exhibit? Some may have been right there with you, while younger visitors may be several generations removed from that era.

DW: After all these years, we were curious about what the show would look like and how it would be perceived. One of the most rewarding things has been the stories that veterans have shared. There have been some pretty personal experiences related to them coming back and seeing some of this stuff, seeing it through their eyes. The other folks you’re talking about, I don’t know how they’ll view anything of this sort, in the sense that it’s a history of a long time ago.

CC: Of the people who I’ve talked to who have

seen the show, the ones that were most interested were those who saw it as a personal experience, a roadmap of the past. It was, and is, very personal.

I would hope that the youth today would be inspired to dig deep enough to look at that war and see some of the mistakes that were made, and not repeat them. That and, regardless of their political views and feelings, that they take away some type of appreciation for the people that fought it, whether they wanted to be there or not.

DW: That’s a good point, Chuck. This show is not a political statement at all. We're not trying to push a point here that there is a right or wrong to war. It is a record of the people that he and I met, and what we saw during that time and now – which is not to sugarcoat war either, by any means. What Chuck is portraying today is still people. They're real, and they’re alive, and the landscapes are beautiful. The landscapes were beautiful back then, when they weren't being bombed off the face of the earth. Chuck brings it full circle with his paintings. At the end of the day, it’s a record of something we have both taken part in over a period of fifty-something years.

S&C: David, have you thought about going back and seeing what inspiration you might find in Vietnam today?

"That’s what I related to – the people I served with, the people that I knew and met... some we lost."
– DAVID WRIGHT Montagnard Chief, Duc My, Highlands David Wright, 1965 Pencil on paper Little Girl in Red – Da Nang Chuck Creasy, 2019 Watercolor on paper Cluster of Fishing Boats Sitting Still Chuck Creasy, 2020 Watercolor on paper Huey UH-1B Gunship Waiting for a Mission David Wright, 1965 Pencil on paper

DW: I know several vets who have gone back, and every single one of them, universally, says that they are glad they did it. I don’t have any real desire to go back and see it, except for those guys right there [pointing to a sketch of a Montagnard soldier, a term for the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam]. I’d like to go back to those villages. My experience with them was really special, and that’s the reason why I have several drawings of them. If I went back, I’d make my tour up there to the highlands and see what happened to them.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Vietnam: 2 Soldiers, 2 Artists, 2 Journeys Then & Now is presented by the Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center. The exhibit is on view at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center through August 14. Read more about these artists and their stories in the exhibit catalogue available in Seasons: The Museum Store.

David Wright (left) is known for his paintings of rural landscapes and scenes of the American frontier. A lifelong artist, his career took a two-year break in 1964-65 when he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army, where he ultimately volunteered for duty in Vietnam and served as an advisor with Military Assistance Command Vietnam.

Chuck Creasy (right) served as an artillery forward observer in 1967-68, later returning home to launch a career as an advertising creative. He now dedicates his time to fine art endeavors, capturing a variety of subjects in watercolor.

"Underlying what I felt was the beauty of that country and the strength and tenacity of the people."


Reliant Bank, now known as United Community Bank after a recent merger, donated this unique collection to the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center last spring. The donation is a full-circle moment for many of these artworks, as most of the pieces in the collection were acquired through the Museum’s annual Flying High fundraiser (by what was then First Federal Savings Bank) under the leadership of Jim Mann, who retired in 2004 after more than 30 years as President and CEO.

“The collection was started because we were trying to help local nonprofits raise money,” explained Mann, who purchased art at various auctions to benefit organizations like the Museum, Roxy Regional Theatre and the Red Cross. “In doing this, we managed to amass a large collection of work by Clarksville artists.”

From picture-perfect downtown views to charming watercolors of peaceful riverside scenes, the collection contains over 60 works of art that depict a historic Clarksville scene, were created by a Clarksville resident or both.

“I was hoping there was some way that the collection could be kept together,” said Mann. “I think it’s probably one of the larger collections created by local artists around... because we had them in so many different locations, most of it has never been seen all together.”

The compilation of pieces contains a mixture of subjects and mediums, from paintings to pencil drawings to photography prints. “This collection showcases the wealth of artistic skill and passion present in our community,” said Curator of Collections Anna Woten. “As these pieces find a permanent home here at the Museum, we are able to keep them intact, well-preserved and available for the public to enjoy.”

In addition to several striking depictions of the Museum, other works capture some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, such as Jackie

TOP: Untitled Marvin Posey, n.d. Acrylic on canvas

MIDDLE: Preserving the Past Silke Tyler, 2000 Watercolor on paper

BOTTOM: Smith-Trahern Mansion Jackie Langford, 1996 Oil on canvas


TOP: Open Gate Helen Hobson, 2001 Watercolor on paper

BOTTOM: Cumberland Reflections Frank Lott, 2001 Watercolor on paper

This fall, the Museum will display an impressive collection of original artworks representing the expansive story of our community, thanks to the generosity and patronage of a local financial institution.

Langford’s Smith-Trahern Mansion, a vibrant oil painting of the historic antebellum home on McClure Street. Watercolor paintings of Franklin Street by Silke Tyler, Peg Harvill and others depict charming scenes of downtown Clarksville, with additional vivid colors and dynamic themes brought into the mix by artists like Marvin Posey.

“This is a great testimony of life and art coming full circle, as these pieces are a large part of the history of art in Clarksville,” said Kyle Luther, former Market President at Reliant Bank. “It’s only appropriate, and brought me a great deal of joy, that they end up back at the Museum to be on display for the community to see.”

Art of the Area will be on display at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center from September 10 to October 23.

"This collection showcases the wealth of artistic skill and passion present in our community."
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A man dives into an earlier version of the Dunbar Cave swimming pool, prior to the 1931 concrete construction.


There is nothing quite like summer in Tennessee. The sweet smell of honeysuckle wafts through the air and the popsicles start to melt faster than little faces can eat them. Clarksville is uniquely situated for summertime revelry with an abundance of scenic landscapes, nearby lakes and rivers, concerts, festivals and fairs. In fact, many of our seasonal traditions are rooted in the outdoors!

For close to 40 years, the Dunbar Cave swimming pool offered a brief reprieve from the omnipresent humidity of Tennessee summers.

This black woolen women’s swimsuit from the 1920s bears the signature Catalina flying fish logo applique on the left leg.

This postcard on the left, mailed in 1940, depicts families enjoying the Dunbar Cave swimming pool and bathing beach. The Dunbar Cave pool was touted as one of “the largest in the South and modern in every respect.”

30 / SECOND & COMMERCE you might not know we have life, home, auto, and business insurance. now you do. simple human sense® 931.552.4314 INSURANCE Prior to the installation of the swimming complex in 1931, locals enjoyed hiking to Idaho Springs.These three mineral springs, consisting of red, white and black sulphur, alum and chalybeate were thought to cure all matter of maladies, and the
provided a
atmosphere for a picnic lunch. Picnic basket,
breeze from the cave
circa early 1900s. A
boy fishes along the Cumberland River, circa 1900. Hikers break
refreshments at Dunbar Cave, circa 1910.

camp! The Camp Fire Girls were the popular predecessor of the Girl Scouts. Founded in 1910, the organization promoted wilderness skills, leadership, environmental education, child care and self-reliance.

It was founded to serve as a sister organization, with similar goals, to the Boy Scouts of America.






No childhood summer is complete without summer
learn basket weaving at Camp Linger Longer in Montgomery County, circa 1912. head to the water to put their canoeing skills to the test. Scouts work on starting a fire at Camp Linger Longer. Girl Scout Camp postcard, 1949-1950. photographs and artifacts pictured here can be found in the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center’s Archives and Collections. Boy Scout uniform from Clarksville Troop 523 includes a 1963 patch from Camp Tag-A-Tay in Fort Campbell.

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