In historic flood of 2010, which devastated its collection of treasured instruments and exhibits which were in storage near the Cumberland River. Now, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to announce it is reopening to the public in a new venue. Located in the lower level of Metro Nashville’s legendary Municipal Auditorium, the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to welcome the public to its new digs on Thursday, August 29, 2013 for a full weekend of family fun to re-introduce the world to the unique facility.
The Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum is celebrating the reopening with the opening of an exhibition by Betty Harper which commemorates one of Tennessee’s best-known musicians. “50 + Years with Elvis” gathers some of Betty’s 10,000 portraits of Elvis Presley, the Memphis native known to millions as “The King” (of Rock and Roll). The exhibition will be on display from Thursday, August 29th until the end of the year.
As a “Military Brat” Betty’s surroundings changed often. Seventeen moves in twelve years offered the aspiring young artist ample stimulation for an innately perceptive eye. By the time she graduated from Dreux American High School in France, Betty had already won countless awards and ribbons, and the open admiration of her teachers. Encouraged, she went on to study at the American Academy in Paris.
What has emerged from Betty’s formal training, and from her God-given talent, is a style distinctly her own, a style distinguished by its eloquent simplicity. She is a remarkable versatile artist, skilled in many medium, comfortable with many subjects. But her first love is drawing faces — exquisite, intimate, searching portraits.
Betty’s subjects include statesman and heroes, recording artist and movie stars. Her work graces the homes of several governors and scores of entertainment world celebrities. One of her greatest admirers was the late Joan Crawford, who changed the décor of her Hollywood mansion each season but insisted that her Harper gallery remain year-round.
Although Betty is challenged by her commissioned work for the wealthy and the famous, she finds equal inspiration in a farmer’s weathered face. “Every face has a story to tell,’ she says. “The lines around the eyes, the set of the lips – each detail means something.”
Nowhere is Betty’s careful attention to detail, or her uncanny ability to probe the character of her subject, more apparent than in her world-renowned Elvis portraits. Numbering more than 10,000, these works document every period of the entertainer’s life, capturing subtle moods and unconscious gestures. She is “The” Elvis Artist.
In May, 2013, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean was on hand to unveil the new street name “Musician’s Way” in front of The Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum.