by Joe Nolan
The Plowhaus Gallery Grand Opening
6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7
In Franne Lee's long career as a costume designer and set decorator, she's made jackets for Jimi Hendrix and dresses for Janis Joplin. She crafted the official banners that flew at Woodstock (which were stolen immediately after being hung). She's won Tonys for her theatrical work. She dressed the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players during Saturday Night Live's first few seasons. And if you want to get a look at Lee's talents in feature films, just pick any one of the three selections from the DVD box set Pacino: An Actor's Vision.
Lee chalks up her success to being in the right place at the right time. "I was always a happy-go-lucky person," she says, laughing. Locally, Lee is recognized as the smiling, energetic face of the Plowhaus Gallery and Artists' Cooperative. While she humbly gives props to fate, the Plowhaus saga also speaks to Lee's unflagging belief in her creative vision. Having already accomplished so much, surely Lee could rest on her laurels. But she's not finished yet, and neither is Plowhaus.
Plowhaus was founded by a small group of artists back in 2001. "I was in New York with [artist/musician/filmmaker] J.D. Wilkes just before 9/11 happened. We'd left at 2 in the morning, just hours before the planes hit," recalls Lee. "We decided we had to do something important for the community. We couldn't just sit there wondering what was going to happen next." The talented printmaker Lesley Patterson-Marx, who had just moved to Nashville, got in on the planning, and the original Plowhaus blossomed in the cozy confines of a 700-square-foot space in the Lockeland Springs neighborhood.
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