Long before the First Saturday Art Crawl was drawing crowds down to Fifth Avenue and the Arcade, Franne Lee's Plowhaus Artists' Co-op in East Nashville was the place to be on opening night. Festive crowds packed the 17th Street gallery to see work by a multitude of artists, and they were often treated to performances musical and otherwise. Lee currently teaches production design in the film department at Watkins, as well as costume design in Belmont's theater department — which should come as no surprise, since she was a successful costume designer in New York for many years, responsible for both the Land Shark and Conehead costumes on SNL. (Not to mention that she won a couple of Tonys for her work on Broadway productions of Candide and Sweeney Todd.)
Lee's creative gifts extend into the world of visual art, too, as her new show at LeQuire Gallery's Green Hills location demonstrates. The exhibit features some of her images of birds and other animals painted on wood remnants from old cabinets and barn siding; her series of pictures of children with painted faces, inspired by the tribespeople of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, who have an elaborate tradition of face and body decoration; and some pieces from her Attitudes series of paintings of East Nashville icons (and yes, there are many).