GREENEVILLE – Community members can spend a fun and memorable Valentine’s Day with those they love in a historic and relaxing setting while developing or strengthening their artistic skills at Tusculum University.
Tusculum’s Center for the Arts will again hold the popular Valentine’s Painting Night to commemorate this special day. The lively and interactive event will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, in the lobby of Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center and will feature the opportunity for participants to paint an Italian province landscape.
Guiding guests through the process will be Bill Bledsoe, a working artist for more than 45 years and assistant professor of art and design at Tusculum. Bledsoe also served as the teacher for the inaugural Valentine’s Painting Night in 2023, which sold out and attracted participants who lived throughout the region.
“Everyone had a fantastic time a year ago, and many people have asked us to hold this event again,” said Rouja Green, director of the Center for the Arts. “We anticipate this year’s event will also sell out, so we encourage people to purchase tickets early. Our friends in the community will not want to miss out on this opportunity to enjoy a quality evening and create a piece of art that can hang on their wall and serve as a forever reminder of Valentine’s Day 2024.”
Valentine’s Painting Night is a fundraiser for Tusculum’s art program.
Green emphasizes the event is not limited just to couples. People are welcome to participate with other family members or friends or come by themselves. The event is for people of all ages. Tusculum will have 25 stations, with a maximum of two people at each one. No painting experience is required, and Bledsoe will visit each station, as needed, to provide additional support for guests.
In addition to painting, guests will experience many repeat elements from the inaugural event. The Center for the Arts will serve heavy hors d’oeuvres during a break in the middle of the painting session and provide guests with the opportunity to have their pictures taken at a photo booth. Music will also be played throughout the evening.
“All of our guests will expand their knowledge about art composition and discover more about Italy,” Bledsoe said. “They will gain confidence in their painting abilities and further understand the power of art as a form of expression. But the best part of the evening is being able to spend that time with people they love and meeting new friends. We relish connecting with the community and are excited to replicate the terrific experience people enjoyed a year ago.”
Bledsoe has led Tusculum’s studio art program for eight years and provides students with active and experiential learning that incorporates civic engagement with a number of community organizations. He also has a robust private art portfolio and was commissioned to create a painting celebrating the 225th anniversary of Tennessee and Jonesborough, the state’s oldest town. A large mural he created adorns a wall in Majestic Park in downtown Johnson City.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in studio art, which consists of painting and drawing, and his master’s degree in graphic design, both from East Tennessee State University. He worked as an artist for the Air Force and was the youngest to receive the Achievement Medal from that military branch. Bledsoe was recognized as one of the top 100 artists of Tennessee in 1987, and his work is part of a permanent collection in the Frist Art Museum in Nashville.
Bledsoe is well-known in the region for spearheading the campaign to rename Tennessee’s National Football League team when it moved from Houston. He worked with NFL properties, ownership and the state of Tennessee on this endeavor.
Tickets for Valentine’s Painting Night are $50 for one person and $75 for two people and can be purchased at https://our.show/nidxzum4pd. Anyone with questions can email Green at email@example.com or call 423-787-8326.