Aug 10, 2015

Columbia State Welcomes New Gallery Curator

Columbia State Welcomes New Gallery Curator

Photo of the new art curator

Photo Caption: Michele Wilkinson

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - Aug. 10, 2015) - - -

Columbia State Community College is pleased to announce Michele Wilkinson as the new Pryor Art Gallery curator.

"Michele has a strong eclectic background that includes art and business," said Bethany Lay, Columbia State's executive for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation. "I feel that her combined skill sets will make a wonderful addition to the Pryor Art Gallery."

In addition to her artistic background, Wilkinson has worked in advertising, marketing communications and branding for agencies such as Interpublic, Omnicom, D'Arcy, Massias, Benton & Bowls and The Whelan Design Group. She has managed accounts such as Verizon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amoco, Schneider Electric and more.

After moving from New York City to Atlanta, Wilkinson opened Naked Clay Studios, a retail art studio. In addition to painting lessons, she offered summer camps and community outreach programs and was the art resource for all local heritage foundation and community affairs in Sandy Springs and Roswell, Georgia.

After moving to Nashville for her husband's music career, Wilkinson opened a fine art gallery in The Factory of Franklin, where she assembled and curated a variety of exhibits, including hosting national art exhibits, creative workshops, and open-model painting sessions. She also offered the gallery space as a venue for community events, including charity events, weddings and chamber of commerce functions.

"My goals and objectives for the gallery, and at all Columbia State campuses, are to create exhibits that are more than just hanging paintings on a wall," Wilkinson said. "I am building programs that are meant to engage the students, faculty and our communities in creative thought, action and interaction with multiple disciplines."

Wilkinson earned bachelor's degrees in art education and studio art from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Pryor Art Gallery is in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus, located at 1665 Hampshire Pike. The gallery is open and free to the public Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Please visit for additional information.

For questions about the gallery and exhibits, Wilkinson can be reached at 931.540.2883.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee's first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit

Tennessee's Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at