Culture & Entertainment
Steered by a president and board of directors, the Park Theater Group is actively working on the restoration and renovation of McMinnville's historic downtown theater. Over 2,000 hours of volunteer labor have already been donated by citizens hoping to turn the old building into a modern performing arts center. Upon completion, the Park Theater Group hopes to host community concerts featuring groups like the Silver and Gold Band and the Barbersharps, as well as dance recitals and touring theater troupes. This project is receiving architectural help from the East Tennessee Design Center at the University of Tennessee and has hopes for a 2006 grand opening.
The Silver and Gold Band
Currently under the direction of Mike Chilcutt, a retired local high school band director, the Silver and Gold Band of Warren County stands out as a beloved community tradition. The band dates back to the late 1800s and is one of the oldest community bands in the state of Tennessee. This concert band is open to everyone, requires no auditions and rehearses weekly. The group performs year-round at community and regional events such as outdoor concerts, parades and county fairs.
The Silver and Gold Band's repertoire includes patriotic marches, waltzes, and jazz and Latin selections. Instrumental soloists are featured from time to time in these performances. This nonprofit group is in the process of soliciting corporate sponsors to help them with expenses and the purchase of instruments and equipment.
The Barbersharps, a ladies barbershop group singing four-part, a cappella harmonies, has been under the direction of Betty Howard for 25 years.
This widely acclaimed local group is made up of about 25 ladies who simply "love music." They welcome everyone who would like to join and have no audition requirements. The Barbersharps sing for various audiences around the region. They've had the honor of singing for the governor of Tennessee and have also performed at Nashville’s Opryland Hotel. The Barbersharps practice weekly.
The Southern Museum & Galleries of Photography, Culture & History
The Southern Museum & Galleries of Photography, Culture & History was opened to the public in November 2001. The museum was created by Monty Wanamaker and Chris Keathley after Wanamaker purchased a broad collection of photographs, photography equipment, memorabilia and artifacts from the "Steamboat" Cassetty Estate. Much of the collection relates to the legendary photographer William Spencer "Dad" Lively, who lived and worked in McMinnville during the 19th and early 20th centuries. "Dad' Lively opened The Southern School of Photography in McMinnville, which was one of only two schools of photography in the United States at that time. Among the important items on permanent display in the museum are three rare, original Lumiere Auto-Chromes made early in Lively’s career and two 30-inch by 60-inch prints of large portraits he made in 1909. The original large portraits are now in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Eastman Photography Museum in Rochester, N.Y.
The Southern Museum & Galleries of Photography, Culture & History also features a number of other permanent displays dedicated to prominent McMinnville residents. Among the works displayed are those of Charles Faulkner Bryan, a pioneer in the study of Appalachian Folk Music; Lucy Virginia French, a published and highly esteemed writer and poet; J. Fletch Woodward, McMinnville's earliest professional photographer; and Charles Lee "Steamboat" Cassetty, a photographer who collected old photographs and cameras from the Southern School of Photography.
The Southern Museum & Galleries of Photography, Culture & History is housed in the historic Brinkley Building, a three-story brick building built in 1889 as a saloon. The museum also has a small gift shop, which features historical books, prints and original artwork.
Lively Photography Museum
Also in the historic downtown area is the recently opened Lively Photography Museum. This commemorative museum in McMinnville hopes to honor the contributions made by "Dad" Lively toward photography. Ongoing restoration of this facility has been conducted by members of the Heritage Alliance and Main Street McMinnville for the last three years. The Station Pure Art The Station Pure Art, owned and operated by local resident Vicky Monroe Spivey, is housed in the historic Pure Gas Station in downtown McMinnville. This gallery hosts exhibits and receptions for various local and regional artists. For more information and exhibit schedules, you may contact The Station Pure Art.