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Clarksville-Montgomery County Arts and Heritage Development Council awards Arts, Heritage Lifetime Achievement Awards
Clarksville, TN – Four Clarksvillians were recently honored by the Clarksville/Montgomery County Arts and Heritage Development Council for their achievements in art and in preserving our heritage.
Cindy Marsh, professor emerita of art at Austin Peay State University, and graphic designer Mike Fink received the Lifetime Achievement in Art award, and local historians Rosalind Kurita and Carolyn Stier Ferrell received the Lifetime Achievement in Heritage award.
Ferrell, Kurita tell the stories of Clarksville’s past
Carolyn Stier Ferrell and Rosalind Kurita have worked separately and in collaboration to preserve Clarksville’s heritage.
A fourth generation Clarksvillian, Ferrell has written and published seven books on Clarksville: “In Search of Nannie Tyler: A One Hundred Year History of a Family Who Helped Shape Clarksville” (2008), “Stories from the Queen City of the Cumberland” (2010), “Occupied: The Story of Clarksville, Tenn., during the Civil War” (2012),“Franklin House” (2013); “Greenwood Cemetery: A History” (2014), “Riverview Cemetery: A History” (2015) and “Valentine Sevier: Blood on the River” (2016).
She is finishing up an eighth, “Clarksville’s Historic Dog Hill Neighborhood and Beyond,” which should be out in the next several months.
“My books are an attempt to regain stories that may have been lost otherwise,” she comments. “Even as I was teaching high school biology, I managed to insert snippets of Clarksville’s history and found that most students were totally unaware of our city’s rich history.”
Ferrell is a frequent speaker on local history for civic groups and serves as a tour guide, reenactor and volunteer at Fort Defiance. She recently conducted tours of Riverview Cemetery, which raised nearly $1,000 for the Montgomery County Historical Society.
Just last week she led a bicycle tour of Haunted Clarksville for Clarksville Parks and Recreation Department.
Kurita says of Ferrell, “You can ask her a question about anybody buried in any cemetery in Clarksville and she can paint a picture of them.”
She produced the play, “The Perfect 36,” which commemorates Tennessee’s role as the 36th and final state needed to ratify the amendment.
Since then Kurita has been preserving Clarksville’s past through a series of videos documenting its historical life through its buildings.
“I really wanted to get as much of the physical presence –the brick and mortar that exist now—captured in a format that could be used in the future,” she comments. “Each of those shows goes inside the building and tells its story.
Kurita notes the guiding thought behind the video series is “to teach history in an intimate format that folks could view in their living rooms.” She added, “And I think we succeeded.”
Mentioning videos of Historic Collinsville with JoAnne Weakley in costume explaining her goals for the historic village re-creation and her interview with Don and Patsy Sharpe in the Forbes House they have spent decades restoring, Kurita said with enthusiasm, “I loved doing them.”
She has made those videos available to the public online through Vimeo and YouTube. To find them, search these sites using the key words “history and heritage Clarksville Tennessee.”
Kurita and Ferrell collaborated on a number of the videos and forged a partnership that has continued to benefit Clarksville.
They recently worked together to lay out the Tennessee Discovery Trail, a series of three downtown walking trails featuring information about historical Clarksville as well as locally produced art of Tennessee icons.
The Trail will be a joint effort of the Clarksville Arts and Heritage Development Council, the Women’s Network, Tennessee State Hall of Fame, Tennessee Arts Commission, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Clarksville Mayor’s Fitness Council, Montgomery County Information Technology Department, Montgomery County Health Department, Austin Peay State University GIS Center, and Clarksville Parks and Recreation Department.
Kurita, who has a nursing degree, was excited to combine a trail encouraging physical fitness with lessons in history and art. “The reason I love the trail is that people can walk in the footsteps of the people who lived the history,” she commented.
Fink, Marsh use art to solve problems, improve lives
Separately and in collaboration Cindy Marsh and Mike Fink have contributed to the artistic and social well-being of this community.
Mike Fink has designed brand identities, publications, posters, packaging, exhibitions and websites for clients in music, arts and education for nearly 40 years.
But before he discovered his love for graphic design, Fink was drafted out of high school by the Chicago Cubs and spent two years in their minor league system.
When his baseball career ended, Fink moved to Los Angeles, earned a degree in graphic design and developed close relationships with various music companies and art organizations. He has produced more than a thousand cd and album covers.
“Most of my work still comes out of L.A., “he notes, although he has clients from across the country. He received the prestigious James Beard Award for the design and graphics he produced for The Double A restaurant in Santa Fe.
Among his many clients are the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Universal Music Group, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney, William Morrow, Rock the Vote and T-Mobile.
For many years he designed programs and posters for Roxy Regional Theatre productions. In 2014, he took on the task of designing and preparing for production AHDC’s art-alphabet book, “C Is for Clarksville.” He donated his time in both cases.
[320rightHe commented, “I still love working. I consider myself a problem solver. I relish a challenge. I enjoy establishing a visual identity for someone else—solving their problems.”
Fink says one of his favorite projects was his art direction and design for the magazine Borderline. His work for the magazine won numerous awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Type Directors Club of New York and American Center of Design 100 show.
Some of his work on Borderline was in collaboration with his wife Cindy Marsh, a graphic designer and typography expert.
Limited edition prints, broadsides, illustrations and artists’ books designed and produced by Marsh have been exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally.
In 1997, Marsh organized the acquisition by APSU of a New England poster shop that included 75,000 pieces of rare wood and several antique printing presses. The assortment of print equipment and hand-cut letters was named the Goldsmith Press & Rare Type Collection in honor of the late librarian, rare book collector and literacy advocate Arthur Goldsmith.
“I realize my creative work is the community,” she comments. “Everything I’ve produced for the last 20 years with the Goldsmith Press seeks to uncover important thoughts and ideas from people in the community; their private stories are then printed and presented in the public sphere.”
Local community projects Marsh has produced include “Narratives of Hope and Recovery,” a flag quilt created from essays written by Montgomery County veterans with PTSD; “Pillars of Hope,” a 3-D print installation of community narratives remembering 9/11; and “Listen-Up!!” a National Endowment for the Arts at-risk program to empower teens through writing and printing autobiographical posters and T-shirts.
In 2009 Marsh won the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce – APSU Community Service Award for her community work with the Goldsmith Press.
Looking back at her teaching career, Marsh noted, “I’m constantly reminded of how important teaching and its impact on students is. I didn’t understand that until retirement.” Looking forward to what’s next, she commented, “I have produced several artist books that I write, make the paper for, print and bind. I hope to do more of that. I have discovered that I really like writing.”
SectionsArts and Leisure
TopicsAHDC, APSU’s Goldsmith Press & Rare Type Collection, Carolyn Stier Ferrell, Chicago Cubs, Cindy Marsh, Clarksville Montgomery County Arts and Heritage Development Council, Clarksville Parks & Recreation Department, Clarksville Parks and Recreation, Clarksville TN, Don Sharpe, Fort Defiance, Haunted Clarksville, Historic Collinsville, JoAnne Weakley, Lifetime Achievement in Art Award, Lifetime Achievement in Heritage Award, Mike Fink, Montgomery County Health Department, Montgomery County Historical Society, Patsy Sharpe, Riverview Cemetery, Rosalind Kurita
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