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A Teaching Tradition

What was a master artist before he/she was a master artist? Talents as great as Michelangelo and da Vinci were once an apprentice; they learned and developed their skills at the side of a master. The Tennessee Arts Commission and the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists recognize the power of that time–tested tradition with such a program right here in our own state.

I really wanted to offer them a unique experience that really was just a one on one type. What not only could the apprentice learn, but what could the master learn from that as well. I think the one on one exchange became what was the most important, and the most sort of intricate and intimate aspect of the program.
– Julie Horn, director of Visual Arts/Craft Media, TN Arts Commission

In Oak Ridge, rising glass artist, Pat Finney, polishes his skills as he works with noted master, Tom Fuhrman. In the small town of Charlotte, the fabric of friendship is woven when Paula Bowers Hotvedt mentors student Amanda Ross in the art of designing, sculpting and shaping cloth. And in Liberty, Tennessee, young artist Jess Jones seizes the golden opportunity to learn more about papermaking from master artist, Claudia Lee.

When you’re teaching someone and helping them think, you refine your own thinking. It’s a really good process. The interchange is good. – Paula Bowers Hotvedt, master weaver

The Master Artist Apprentice Program is offered annually by the Tennessee Arts Commission. The Master and Apprentice must apply as a team. For more information, please go to


We are ‘Twin’. We’re identical twin brothers. We have been painting and drawing since we were kids. As of late I just realized that this is what we do for a living.
– Jerry Lynn, artist

Like yellow and blue make green, brothers Jerry and Terry Lynn are individuals who blend together to create something completely different. Their vision, concept, and brushes diverge onto a single canvas to create a unique image that somehow bears the influence of each artist. If it seems impossible that two ends can somehow meet in the middle to complete a single piece of art... well, the proof is in the paintings.

Working on 15 to 20 paintings at a time, many of Jerry’s and Terry’s images reflect Memphis and southern society from days gone by. You can feel the humidity, see hard workers straining in the cotton fields, watch a river baptism as the penitent gather outside an old church.

Its kind of like a living contradiction we are fairly young artists painting these images inspired by our older generation. A generation that maybe didn’t have the opportunity to tell their story. We have the opportunity to tell a story that wasn’t able to be told… I think it’s just close to our hearts. – Terry Lynn, artist

See for yourself. You can enjoy more of the Lynn brothers’ remarkable artistry by going to their website:

Mr. Ollie

When Tim Oliphant is at work, he goes by the name of Mr. Ollie. It’s an appropriate and perfectly playful name when one’s line of work is cartoonist.

Mom likes to tell the story to people how, back when I was growing up, that’s when Saturday morning cartoons were around, there were two hours of Bugs Bunny cartoons, and I wouldn’t crack a smile at any of it… I would look at those things over and over and over. And it’s like my mind is analyzing everything. And that’s how I learned to draw stuff. – Tim Oliphant, cartoonist

Mr. Ollie started drawing and doodling in 5th grade, motivated by those Saturday morning cartoons and the professional but fun artwork in Mad magazine. He finds himself inspired by some of the best known characters in popular culture… and by the people who created them.

Now Charles Schulz who created Peanuts, used to refer to comics as a sidewalk medium. And that’s because cartoons appeal to everybody. And because they’re in newspapers and magazines, they were so accessible to everybody.
– Tim Oliphant

Mr. Ollie is an advocate of cartoons and comics as art. It just happens to be art of the people, art that exists primarily to prompt a smile or laugh. It’s a belief Mr. Ollie shares with children in the cartooning workshops he conducts in schools around the state. You can find out more about Mr. Ollie and his world of cartooning at