In the late 1990s, my husband, John, and another civic-minded Cookevillian, Don Calcote, created a fundraising event called “Cooking on the Square” to benefit the then-newly established Putnam County Habitat for Humanity. The concept was simple: for a modest donation to Habitat, guests chose a keepsake ceramic bowl made by local potters to sample gumbo prepared by local cooks. The first year, we ran out of bowls. So we celebrated our wedding anniversary the next year by taking an introductory class at the Potter’s Wheel, a teaching studio owned and operated by Texas potter Pamela Patton. Between us, with an extraordinary effort by Pamela and volunteer artists of the Potter’s Wheel, we were able to contribute hundreds of bowls a year to the event. I continue to make bowls for Cooking on the Square, which is held annually on the last Friday of October on Cookeville’s courthouse square.
The nonprofit Art Round Tennessee hosts an annual studio and gallery tour in Cookeville’s downtown arts and entertainment district, the West Side, typically the second weekend in November. I often take part in this terrific public event, which brings art to the people and people to art!