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When I think about The Harding Art Show, the word resilient comes to mind. The show has survived the H1N1 flu, power outages, last May’s flood and some extremely challenging economic times. With a 36-year history, The Harding Art Show presents a selection of art, which is both affordable to the new collector and compelling to seasoned art buyers. A well-oiled machine, the show takes place over three days and is coordinated by hundreds of dedicated parents who raise the bar where volunteer commitments are concerned.

Ashley Smith, Co-Chair; Ian Craig, Headmaster; Kris Prunitsch, Featured Artist for 2011; and Susan Burns, Co-Chair.

Leave it to the go-getter team of Susan Burns and Ashley Smith, this years’ chairs, to shake it up ever so slightly. For the first time in the history of the show, they have added two of our favorite galleries and a couple of jewelers to make the compilation just a tad more interesting. What a smart move — every event needs to continually tweak itself, just to keep it fresh.

For the first time ever, you’ll see artists represented by Two Moon Gallery and Bennett Galleries, and a fine selection of jewelry from Ash Blue and Atelier. Add to that over 70 artists slated to be in the show, and you’ve got the formula for an incredible weekend to celebrate art.

The show is always the first weekend in May (rain-ugh! or shine) and is open to the public. This years’ festivities begin with the Preview Party on Thursday, May 5th and wrap up on Saturday, May 7th at 3 PM. One thing I’ll say about those Harding folks, they know how to have fun. For the Fiesta Friday party, they’ll have margaritas, beer, wine and tons of Mexican food. Unbelievably, the Harding Art show attracts over 4,000 patrons each year.

Frannie Ambrose and Artist Jacqueline Saporiti toast the preview party.


I lunched with the chairs last month to talk about the show and this year’s incredible line up of artists. Since one of my passions is collecting local art, I told the girls I would feature some of my favorite artists in the post today. (This assignment proved more difficult than I thought — the show is rich with new talent, and, respectfully, showcases many artists we have known for years.)

Local artists adorn the walls of my home and one of my favorite purchases from the Harding Show is a whimsical painting by Nathaniel Mather. Most of my art acquisitions have tripled in value from my original investment, but the most important thing to remember is to buy what you like. And, if a piece speaks to you, claim it, fast. If you don’t, in the blink of an eye, it will be under the arm of someone else.

Here are three landscapes I found to be both visually appealing and quietly soothing.

Charlotte Terrell continues to amaze me.


Nashvillian Leslie McCallen

A subtle riverscape by Marty Parker

I can’t resist this jewelery.

Susan Russell, owner of Atelier, has an eye for gorgeous detail.

Janet Weinstein’s necklaces encompass antique ornaments.

David Arms is a great examples of an artist whose work has evolved through the years in a good way.

David Arms in one word: awesome!

By pairing two uncommon elements, a wonderful story unfolds.


What a great way to celebrate the beginning of May. The Harding Art Show has survived just about every adversity that’s come their way. Now, they can reap the benefits that come from experience and true determination.


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