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West Tennessee Treasures - Humboldt - West Tennessee Regional Art Center

By Brittany Patterson
By bpatterson@wbbjtv.com

Inside Humboldt's 100 year-old old City Hall building, the West Tennessee Regional Arts Center boasts an eclectic collection of fine art, as well as a rare feat.

"As far as I know, we're the only art center with a permanent fine art collection between Memphis and Nashville," said curator and director Bill Hickerson.

The center houses three permanent collections, one of which was donated by a native of Humboldt.

"Someone who grew up here in Humboldt was Dr. Benjamin Caldwell. Him and his wife, Gertrude live in Nashville, "said Hickerson. "They're collectors of fine art and he saw that as a way of giving back to his home community - by donating several hundred pieces from their private collection."

In addition to Caldwell's collection, the center showcases unique, temporary exhibits, such as this season's display: "Impressions of Elvis".

"We have been told this is the largest collection of Elvis fan art that's ever been exhibited anywhere other than at Graceland," said Hickerson. "We have young Elvis, Aloha Elvis, Vegas Elvis.."

But whether you are interested in Elvis of the aesthetics, the West Tennessee Regional Arts Center truly embraces education.

"It does enrich the lives of kids that get to tour this facility because it's not something that they get to do on a regular basis or have an opportunity to visit and experience the culture of art we have here," said Humboldt Chamber of Commerce executive director, Sherri McCarter.

"I feel that it's very very important that young people have the experience of not only creating art, but viewing art in a museum setting," said Hickerson.

The "Impressions of Elvis: Portraits by Fans of Elvis Presley" exhibit debuts at the West Tennessee Regional Arts Center to kick off the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Sunday, May 6 from 2 -4 p.m. The exhibit continue through July 13.