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

February 10 – March 30, 2020

The Athens Area Council for the Arts is excited to announce the opening of our annual Regional College Student Art Show, an exhibition and competition for regional college students. The exhibit will be open from February 10 – March 30, 2020 at The Arts Center with a free opening reception and awards ceremony on Friday, February 21 at 5:30 PM. 

This year’s exhibition includes nineteen pieces from nine artists. These artists are coming from Tennessee Wesleyan University, Cleveland State Community College, and Lee University, and their pieces range in mediums and subject matter.

“[the range of mediums we see in this exhibit] is easily one of my favorite parts of the exhibition. It always brings out such an interesting combination of styles and mediums that you just don’t see in standard themed exhibits. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse at the future of art.” says Gallery Coordinator, Leslie Arnold.

The judge for this year’s exhibit is Ron Buffington. Ron Buffington teaches Painting and Drawing at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, TN, where he served as Head of the Department of Art from 2012-2018. He received his MFA from the School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. Buffington’s work has been featured in numerous curated exhibitions, including: The Shadow’s Body: Painting’s Allegorical Impulse at Watkins College of Art, Nashville, TN; Primarily Painting at Muse, Philadelphia, PA; Aloe Vera at Gray Contemporary, Houston, TX; and Tennessee Abstract Painting at the Cheekwood Museum, Nashville, TN. Buffington has participated in residencies at: the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada; Mudhouse in Agios Ioannis, Crete; SÍM in Reykjavík, Iceland; Fjúk in Husavík, Iceland; Vermont Studio Center in Johnson,VT; and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Mr. Buffington had these words to say to the artists participating in the exhibit,

“They should be proud of their inclusion in this exhibition, and even prouder that they have taken the chance to share their passion. This, above all, is paramount to practicing as an artist: to endure rejection and remain committed to one’s vision; to take acclamation in stride; and to continue to put oneself on the line, over and over.”

There will be an opening reception and awards ceremony for the exhibit on Friday, February 21 beginning at 5:30 PM at The Arts Center. The Awards will be announced at 6:00 PM. Following the reception is a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, an ACT production. This thrilling rock opera will begin at 7:30 PM, and tickets are available online, by phone, or in person at The Arts Center.

1st place: “Stump” by Andy Tate of Cleveland State Community College

2nd place: “Llama’s Eye” by Olivia Housewright of Tennessee Wesleyan University

3rd place: “A Bridle Path” by Gary McDonald of Lee University

People’s Choice Award: “Untitled” by Darius Green of Tennessee Wesleyan University

Honorable Mention, Most Effective Union of Form and Content: “Sleeping In” by Payton Hayman of Lee University

Honorable Mention, Most Understated: “Attraction” by Darius Green of Tennessee Wesleyan University

AACA is grateful to a group of corporate sponsors supporting the arts in our community. 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. Exhibit sponsors for RCSAS are Estes & Kennedy Law Offices. Our performance sponsor for the season is Gibby and Sons Pool Services. Our ACT season sponsors are Covenant Pediatrics, Muddy Waters Wine & Spirits, The Sock Shop, Starr Regional Medical Center, and Grover Thurman.

Upcoming Exhibits

Coming April 13 – May 15, 2020: High School Art Show


Previous Exhibits

SAPIYKUNAPAQ: My Roots, Mis Raíces, 2020

Open Exhibit, 2020

Behind the Scenes, 2019

Exposure, 2019

The Magic of Watercolor, 2019

Broadly Speaking, 2019

High School Art Show, 2019

Annual Regional College Student Art Show, 2019

Rochambeau Drawings 2012-2013, 2019

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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