New exhibit at Emporium Center

The Arts & Culture Alliance is pleased to present five new exhibitions at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville from May 5-26, 2017. A public reception will take place on Friday, May 5, 2017 from 5:00-9:00 PM to which the public is invited to meet the artists and view the artwork. Most of the works are for sale and may be purchased through the close of the exhibition.

The First Friday reception also features music and dance by Pasión Flamenca (led by Lucia Andronescu) in the Black Box at 6:00 PM and new music by the Domino quartet (Mike Baggetta – electric guitar; Keith Brown – drums; Jon Hamar – double bass; and Jorge Variego – composition, electronics and clarinets) at 8:00 PM. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and chocolate fondue from the Melting Pot will be available.

Artwork by Carol Grant Stevens.
6 to 96: The Stevens Family in the lower gallery
Very few artists have been successful without the contributions of family, community and teachers. “6 to 96: The Stevens Family” is a group show consisting of artists from an extended family with ages ranging from six years old to 96 years old. Like the distance between six and 96, there is a spectrum of styles, perspectives, and experiences displayed. There is an inherent poetry created by the family unit. It is where one first learns to love, function, forgive and inspire. “6 to 96” is a show about the grace and beauty that emerges when immersed in a supportive creative environment.

Exhibiting artists include: Nate Butkus (drawing and mixed media); Ray Butkus (ceramist and jeweler); Virginia Butkus Gould (painter); Jonathan Grant (painter); Kathryn Lindsay Grant (painter); Allison Rae Nichols (painter); Carl Stevens (functional design); Carol Grant Stevens (painter); Charles Stevens (sculpture and jewelry); Connor Stevens (drawing); Mark Stevens (photography); Terry Stevens (painting); and William Stevens (painter and sculptor, deceased).

Luis Velázquez: Retrospective 1937-2016 and Family Continuity in the Balcony gallery
In this retrospective of Luis Velázquez, curated by Dina Ruta, the public will have the premiere opportunity to contemplate his artistic trajectory. Velázquez was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1937 and worked as a civil engineer, a community activist, and an artist who liked to paint landscapes and portraits. He used primarily oil, and all through his work, one can see his interest in landscapes. Every piece of art is a mirror that reveals his acute vision and is testimony to his perceptions, dreams and memories.

Reality, for Velázquez, was a single element and is reflected in his paintings. His technique was a calculated elaboration of the chromatic plane. His brush was free, his palette colorful, vibrant and full of light, and his scenes were always full of life. His favorite inspirational sites included Puerto Rico and the Smoky Mountains. Velázquez was the founder of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee. He was committed to the Latino community, always ready to extend a friendly hand without the expectation of retribution; thus, earning much respect and love.

Julie Fawn Boisseau-Craig: Embodiment – A Search for Serenity in the display case
Artist Julie Fawn Boisseau-Craig works in porcelain and glass primarily but utilizes metals and wood as necessary to create her sculptural, wearable and or functional pieces. Her studio, Wild Pony Studio, is located in Rockford. She also works in hot glass at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro, North Carolina. She has shown nationally and participated in and taught many workshops and demonstrations. Boisseau-Craig received her MFA in 2012 and taught Introduction to Visual Art, 3D Art, Drawing and Ceramics at Western Carolina University. She also taught Drawing and Ceramics at Southwestern Community College in North Carolina. She was also an artist assistant to Tennessee-based glass artist Richard Jolley.

Her work directly responds to the contradictions and complexities of life. She strives to create beauty out of chaos. “I believe my work to be an ethereal commentary on the complicated fragility and contradictions of everyday life,” Boisseau-Craig says. For more information, please visit

Works by Heather Huebner on the North Wall
Heather Huebner was born in Euclid, OH and grew up in a suburb east of Cleveland. Her body of work is creating abstracted memories and/or thoughts of landscapes into paintings, influenced by growing up on Lake Erie. She is a graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Art with a Bachelors of Fine Arts focused in painting and is currently working in Knoxville.

“The first half of my work was done by using fluid materials and allowing them to dry over time, letting nature take its course upon the pigments,” says Huebner. “The process in which they are created – pouring onto the canvas – has the same effect as the fluidness of bodies of water on land or on a shoreline. Just as a puddle may sit for days and eventually evaporate, leaving some sediment behind, so too do these pigments. In viewing this body of work, one starts to question how those sediments were left behind. Were they an accident or were they intentional? For me, these marks create a personal connection to experiences I’ve had in the past. A unique mark or color or texture invokes the imagery of a landscape in my memory.”

The second half of Huebner’s work is fantasy. The shapes and colors and compositions have been determined by a feeling of unknowing and are structured on ideas of what could be rather than what she has seen in the past. For more information, please visit

Stephen Spidell: Iterations of Movement in the Atrium
“Save yourselves from inquiring about the art’s potential of increasing your self-awareness or revealing any aspects of the human condition,” says Stephen Spidell. “My latest body of work exists merely for your aesthetic pleasure.” His charcoal and pastel drawings abstract human hair to create close-ups and landscapes. The emotive marks create waves and undulations that replicate the dynamism of the tress while contriving contrasts of value and texture.

Stephen Spidell currently resides in his hometown of Knoxville. His art education started at age seven when he trained under Janice Fancher, and he received his Associate of Arts in Studio Art from Pellissippi State. He is mainly known for his charcoal abstractions of hair, but he continues to indulge in other media including graphite, pen and ink, and pastel; his other subject matter includes botany and the human figure.

The exhibitions are on display at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Please note, the Emporium will be closed on Monday, May 29, for the holiday. For more information, please contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543, or visit the Web site at