Current Show

B/W Show

We've asked Plowhaus Artists to vanquish color, from their artistic vocabulary for this show, and focus on a world that is limited to: black and white, and all the shades in between. Is it a restriction or a gift, when the cacophony of color vanishes? Are we left in a cool underworld of soothing quiet? Or does the art strain against this artificial boundary when parameters are imposed? Exhibiting artists are encouraged to explore their creative language, using a limiting filter of black and white to hone and distill the message that their art is communicating.

And using the Yin Yang sign to announce the show helps to show how there are many natural dualities – e.g. dark and light, female and male, low and high – as cast in Chinese thought of yin yang.

participating artists: Jonnie Downs, Tom Winnett, Catherine Chaput, Franne Lee, Laurie Soileau, Barry Noland, Toni Swarthout Judith Jackson, Mel Davenport, John Holland, Betty Turner, Peggy Bonnington, Heather Lose, Lisa Preston Tiffany Denton, Carrie Mills, Marsha Rusk, Bethany Taylor, Stephen McClure, Kay Ramming, Rich Ruddin Jeana Clark, James Worsham, Randy Purcell

current show poster

Opening Night

September 5th, 2009 from 5 to 9pm


September 5th-26th, 2009

Opening Night

#24 ARCADE LOWER LEVEL** part of the Downtown Art Crawl DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE, TN

Show on map


On November 11, 2001, J.D. Wilkes, Leslie Paterson-Marx and I opened The Plowhaus Artists’ Cooperative in a 700 square foot storefront in Historic Lockeland Springs, East Nashville . We were three artists trying to find a way to help our community heal after the devastating events of 9-11. Our goal was to provide a venue for local artists to show their work together in an open environment and to counteract the pervading feeling of helplessness. We wanted the Plowhaus to be a place where every artist could declare ownership in a true, grass-roots venture.

The Plowhaus is the first art gallery to open in the area, the first co-op in Nashville and now holds the distinction of being Nashville ’s longest lasting co-op. The gallery is nestled in an up-and-coming residential neighborhood that has recently seen a wave of renovation and restoration in response to extensive tornado damage suffered in 1998. The renewal taking place in East Nashville appeals to creative types-musicians and artists alike- and has become a center of art and culture in its own right. Even so, East Nashville and the Plowhaus remain somewhat of a mystery to most traditional Nashvillians who have never ventured through downtown and across the Cumberland River . Apparently, mystery only adds to the allure of the Plowhaus as we are beginning our 5th year of operation stronger than ever.

The name “Plowhaus” sets the tone for this southern coop with international roots by combining the idea of the Bauhaus (also was a successful artists’ co-op), and J.D.’s cartoon character “The Urban Plow Boy”. The hard work implied in the word “Plow” is performed by the 50 or so members who run and maintain the gallery in turn for a place to display their art at a low cost and high sales profit. Thematic group shows with 25-30 artists, small group shows, solo shows, fundraisers, benefits and outreach shows fill up the Plowhaus calendar. Some memorable titles include MySpace @ the Plowhaus, Naughty or Nice Christmas show, Pie in the Sky, Impromptu, Funambulesque and the annual Value Menu show that advertises “Haute Cuisine at Fast Food Prices”. In keeping with East Nashville and its unwritten standards of individualism, most of our shows have a loose theme but artists are never required to conform to the given theme.

One of the most important aspects of the Plowhaus is our commitment to modeling citizenship and building community through outreach. In our unique partnership with local elementary schools, children are mentored by our artists for one month in preparation for a gallery show. They exhibit at the Plowhaus alongside their mentors and their pieces are hung at child’s eye-level to bring into focus their unique perspective. Hopefully this unique experience will inspire the children to support the arts or even become artists themselves in the future.

As for the future of the Plowhaus, we have since upgraded to a 2000 square foot space next to the old storefront, grown exponentially in membership and gained our non-profit 501©3 last year. Our executive board is working hard to obtain big-company sponsorship so we can continue to serve the community through outreach and eventually establish a finishing school for professional artists in our new space- I can dream too…

Thanks for listening, Franne Lee


Plowhaus is an artist supported cooperative and gallery space dedicated to presenting new art work to the Nashville community. Plowhaus is a place where the process of creating art is valued and where artists can test new ideas and develp new skills. By encouraging the investigation of art-making and by supporting emerging artists, Plowhaus is committed to supporting, challenging and inspiring artistic growth among its members and to building, educating and sustaining audiences for contemporary art.