Wednesday, November 25, 2015

[229] 70 world artists create beauty, simplicity in MTSU's new Todd Gallery exhibi

MURFREESBORO — An international art exhibit, combining the centuries-old art of the tea ceremony and an ongoing effort to protect the environment, will briefly visit MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery beginning Monday, Nov. 30.

Seventy artists from around the world, including MTSU ceramics professor Marisa Recchia, will present their handcrafted Chawan, a bowl used in traditional Eastern tea ceremonies, in an MTSU Arts Showcase exhibit in the Todd Gallery through Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Chawan, USA” will be on display during the gallery’s regular hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The gallery is closed on weekends and state and university holidays.

An opening reception is set Nov. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Room 224A of Todd Hall. The exhibit and the reception are free and open to the public.

A searchable campus parking map is available at Off-campus visitors to the exhibit should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation at

The International Chawan Expo Project began in 2005 to encourage artists that enjoy Chawan to share their work.

“I thought it was time to start a project with the most simple and useful object, with little commercial value: a tea bowl,” said artist and exhibit founder Lou Smedts of Mörsdorf, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.

“Nobody was waiting for a tea bowl exhibition in the museums, the ceramists I contacted told me. So I went to the museums to convince them that tea bowls are unique art objects. And, surprisingly, the directors listened and opened their doors.”

Another of the project’s goals is to raise awareness of recycling and environmentally friendly ways of working and firing ceramics. Japanese master potter Masakazu Kusakabe, who guided the 2012 construction at MTSU of one of his signature eco-friendly and efficient smokeless kilns, is returning to participate in the Todd Gallery Chawan exhibit’s activities.

The special U.S. exhibit at MTSU comes on the heels of the 10th anniversary “Project Jubilee Expo 2015” in Vichte, Belgium, which closed Nov. 1 and drew more than 300 artists from around the world.

Recchia, who also serves as interim chair of the university’s Department of Art, has been contributing to Chawan exhibits in recent years and played a key role in bringing this special display to MTSU.

“My involvement with the Chawan Expo began three years ago, when I participated in the expo in Taiwan,” Recchia said, noting that the MTSU exhibit is only the second held in the United States.

“What an honor it is to have all these Chawan makers from around the world exhibiting their wares here. A Chawan may be a simple object, but there is so much more to a Chawan than meets the eye. A Chawan tea bowl has a long history connected to the reverence for nature, tea and ceremony. I hope all that view these Chawan enjoy the honesty of form and celebrate the international community that brings us all together through the making of a simple Chawan.”

MTSU graphic design students also have been involved through instructor Sheri Selph’s Portfolio II class, which designed posters and a social media campaign for the Chawan display. A catalog also will be printed to promote this artistic opportunity for the MTSU campus and its surrounding community.

For more information about MTSU Arts events on campus, visit

For more information about the Todd Art Gallery, including parking and directions, contact director Eric Snyder at 615-898-5653 or or visit

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