The Exhibition Galleries

The Willson Exhibit Room and Hall Gallery feature rotating visual art exhibitions. Check our calendar for current and upcoming exhibits. You may see everything from local student art to well-known regional artists to traveling exhibitions curated by professionals in their field.

We also organize an annual juried art competition, usually on exhibit in November and December. Open to residents of the area, we include separate divisions for high school, college, and adults, each with cash prizes.

Current Exhibit

January 7 – February 8, 2019

Work by Athens artist, Jan Burleson, will be on exhibit in the Willson Exhibit Room at The Arts Center this January. “Rochambeau Drawings 2012-2013” will be on display January 7 – February 8, 2019. The Opening Reception for the exhibit is at 5:30 PM on Friday January 11, 2019 and is free and open to the public.

About Jan Burleson

Jan Burleson has a BFA in Painting and Drawing from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Burleson is known locally for her photography, early watercolors, and her recent ink drawings inspired by Athens Wetlands. Her work has been exhibited across the Southeast, including juried exhibits such as Dogwood Arts Regional Fine Arts Exhibitions (Knoxville) and Positive-Negative 32, Slocumb Gallery (East Tennessee State University). Burleson has won awards for her work in photography, drawing, and painting, locally from Community Artist League and Athens Area Council for the Arts and regionally such as her selection for the juried FRESH Young and Emerging Artists Exhibit, Association of Visual Artists (Chattanooga) and a Curator’s Award as well as the Lillian B. Feinstein Scholarship Award (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2013).


In 2006 the artist joined Ellen Kimball (then AACA director) for an arts conference in Baltimore, Maryland. During a walk she happened upon the historic Rochambeau Hotel and found the once elegant hotel to be a tattered structure near demolition. Burleson took a series of photographs focusing on the openings left by the absence of former architectural components. The photos are the basis for the drawings exhibited, which were some of her earliest works inspired by the destruction of the hotel.


In the artist’s words “Madeleine L ‘Engle wrote, ‘Artistic temperament sometimes seems a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling.’ The drawings are a tribute, transforming loss. They are derivatives of derivatives, broken down images from broken down images that excavate artistic power from the rubble of destruction. They seek to bear an internal surface dialogue of interacting forms in search of a language that narrates a unity of line and color, and stasis and collapse. They seek to urge remembrance, bringing the power of tragedy and loss into a unified, transcendent present.”


The opening reception starts just two hours before AACA’s “Sisters 3” an encore performance of an annual concert featuring singing sisters. Tickets for the 7:30 PM show are $15 for adults and $10 for students. AACA members enjoy early seating at 6:50 PM, with general admission seating at 7:00 PM. Members may also reserve seats by 3:00 PM the day of the show.


AACA is grateful to a group of corporate sponsors supporting the arts in our community. Support for “Rochambeau Drawings 2012-2013” is provided by Toomey and Baggett Eye Care, PLLC. AACA’s performance sponsor is Edward Jones of Athens. All AACA programs are supported by premier sponsors Financial Guidance Partners, Willsonthropic, Inc – Mintie C. Willson – Willson Family Fund, Wolfenden Family Pharmacies, as well as the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Upcoming Exhibits

Coming February 11 – April 8, 2019: Regional College Student Art Show

Accepting Entries Now! Click above for more information.


Previous Exhibits

Re-imagined 2018

Upside Down and Inside Out 2018

Exposure 2018

High School Art Show 2018

Regional College Student Art Show 2018

The Process: AACA Students and Teachers

Building America

A Glimpse Through the Artist’s Eye

Surface Geographies

Reflections: An exhibit by Mark Mcleod

High School Art Show 2017

Regional College Student Art Show 2017

Shades: An Exhibit by Charlie Newton

One World: Annual Themed Exhibit

Follow Innocence: an exhibit by Richard Whitehead

Everyone Needs Art: an exhibit by Jalyn Weston

Made Here: An exhibit by AACA Students and Teachers

High School Art Show 2016

Regional College Student Art Show 2016

Gospel Quilts: A Quilt Concert by Karen Malone

Creative Harvest: The Art of Agriculture

Sandy Brown: Recent Works

Me and the Gazelle: Angela Dittmar Posey

Painter, Pioneer: The Life of Goldie Denton Mayfield

High School Art Show 2015

Regional College Student Art Show 2015

Art of Recycling

Roots of Our Art: Collected Works by Athens’ Own


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