As drums beat, materializing before an audience are people adorned with facepaint, wearing a rainbow array of colorful homemade costumes,
keeping cadence with self–crafted musical instruments. This is Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl of Memphis. Their art is an incredible
mixture of theater, music, drama, and ancient Aztec dance.
The passion and commitment that they have to recreate and rebirth really this ancient cultural form, is really sort of
indefinable. So it’s not, let me dress up and perform. It’s let me become. Let me become part of my ancestral lineage, and let me
perform this particular dance, that means this particular thing within the spiritual context of my culture and of my past.
– Richard Lou, University of Memphis Art Department director
The people of Danza Azteca are strangers in a new land, citizens of Memphis’ growing Hispanic community. They may daily go their
separate ways into jobs as diverse as pastry chef and landscaper, but they are brought together over and over again to perform the dance
at schools and civic centers. The dance unites and nurtures them, gives them a sense of identity by telling spiritual stories of their
ancestors and their culture.
The most important thing is that you see the spiritual. You get something
spiritual from it. You see the passion that goes into these performances, and you
take away from the whole performance that this is a group of individuals that want
to share what they love, and perhaps it can be life–changing …
– Catrina Guttery, Memphis Music Foundation
For more information on Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl, and to view a performance, you can visit
Michelle Monet loved to sing. As a young woman, she made a little money by playing guitar and singing. Then her life changed.
Someone grabbed me, and it ended up being an agent from the Legends in Concert show in Vegas. She said you’ve got
to come and be Barbra Streisand. You look like her and you sing like her. I said no, I want to be me. – Michelle Monet, artist
But for the next nine years, Michelle wasn’t herself. She was a celebrity impersonator. The role was profitable, but inside she was
bankrupt as an artist.
And the moment I put the wig on, I felt sadness. Like I was losing me. God gives us all
talents. I knew I was born to do other things than just beside “people who need people.” … there was
a part of me that knew I was going to stop and do something different. That I was going to eventually be me. – Michelle Monet
Michelle’s difficult journey awoke the artist living inside her. She discovered an ability to draw, and from there moved into
mixed media works which she creates and sells from her shop in Gatlinburg. Michelle loves the process of creating what she wants. And
she still finds the time to sing… only now she sings her own songs in her own voice.
Art heals. When you’re doing art, I really think it heals. – Michelle Monet
William Lee Golden has certainly had a colorful career as the booming baritone of the world famous Oak Ridge Boys. Long time fans of the
group have watched the quartet evolve from Gospel to country to crossover. Along the way, William Lee has been doing some
evolving of his own, adding ‘painter’ to his artistic resume’.
It’s always fun to get back to the canvas and start playing in paint again. It’s kind of
like music; they call music playing, playing music. So with painting it’s kind of
also playing with colors. – William Lee Golden, artist
And when William Lee plays with colors, he paints nature. Landscapes, gardens, coves – all memorable locations visited by the artist
and his family. Painting – whether in his home studio, or in a hotel room while on the road touring – allows William Lee to relax,
and provides a way to celebrate the beauty of nature.
Certainly no one can recreate what God has created, but we can appreciate it
and try to kind of give our interpretation of a setting we thought was breathtaking
for us. – William Lee Golden
William Lee’s art is on permanent display at the TN state Museum and the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, TX.
He's also had full exhibits at the Pensacola Fine Art Museum, Nashville International Airport, TN State Museum and Alabama Music Hall of
Fame...to name a few. For a look at more of his paintings, you can visit his website at