Paris-Henry County Arts Council

The Paris-Henry County Arts Council recently moved into its new office, located in the Old Depot on Fentress Street. Board members who volunteered to help are (from left) James Wyatt, Nancy Elliott, President Karen Sinn, JoAnn Steedly and Dennis Melhouse. Not pictured are Ramay Winchester, Sarah Wills, Aaron Daniel, Mary Ann Claxton and Karen Geary. Security Bank is allowing the council the use of the building.

Little did the Paris-Henry County Arts Council know how much the COVID-19 virus would effect the local arts scene until the community began to shut down. When the city and county began to urgently close its offices and buildings and events began to be canceled, it quickly became apparent that this was going to be life-changing for the public and the organizations that depend on community participation. 

Captured Moments: A Photography Showcase was only unveiled for a few days at Rhea Public Library when it closed because of COVID, leaving photographers wondering when they would be able to retrieve their works. 

The Artists’ Showcase was the next event canceled, along with the fifth-grade bus trips to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, our Trivia Night fundraisers, the TPAC Broadway musical show bus trips for adults and youth summer workshops.

Though the council’s board members could not meet regularly in person, it didn’t stop them from staying in touch by emails and texts, attempting to plan future events with public safety in mind.



We took a leap of faith in September and planned Arts ’Round The Square. 

The outdoor event was a huge success with more than 50 vendors and food trucks participating. Hundreds turned out on the beautiful, sunny day to support local artisans while socially distancing themselves. 

Several vendors heard about our event through the media and came from out of town and out of state. The artists were very pleased with the event and the community’s hospitality. Many said they plan to return for next year’s event.

We appreciate Travis McLeese and the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce for publicizing the event, providing public health guidance, and the use of their COVID awareness signage. It reminded our visitors to stay aware of their personal safety but to also have a good time while in downtown Paris.



We are pleased to announce that the Arts Council has a new home located in the Old Depot at 203 N. Fentress St. After some sprucing up, board members recently helped move in our furnishings and we are anxious to begin serving the community again soon.

We give our gratitude to Security Bank for the use of the building. Additional thanks goes to Sherwin-Williams for a paint donation, Servall Restoration for carpet cleaning and Dan Jackson for office chairs and tables.

We are looking for donations to make the office more functional. If you or a company have excess office furniture or equipment, please contact us for our list of needs. Our email address is or call or text 642-3953.


A writer’s competition is planned for the winter months, and authors are encouraged to begin writing now. 

The category is fiction, with a 1,500-word maximum. History, romance, humor, science fiction, suspense, horror or whatever inspires the writer’s imagination are qualified topics, but strict criteria must be met for submission. Competition rules will be posted soon on the website,, and in the media. 

Cash prizes will be awarded for the the top three stories, plus a Judges’ Choice award. The contest is open to any Henry County resident, ages 14 and above. Deadline for submissions is Feb. 8, 2021.

If 20 or more writers submit stories, the plan is to publish a book of all works. Current board members are excluded from the competition but will be allowed to submit a story for publication.

We are tentatively planning the Artists’ Showcase in April and Captured Moments: A Photo Showcase in May. Dates will be announced as soon as we know the events are feasible in light of  COVID concerns.



With your monetary donation, you can become a member of the Paris-Henry County Arts Council and help make our community a more artistic place. 

No amount is too big or too small. With your membership, you have the opportunity to be placed on our email list to receive our newsletter and valuable information about events in our community.

We also have opportunities for you or your business to sponsor one or all of our events. Sponsors will receive mention at the event, in print advertising as well as on our Facebook page and website.

Do you love the arts but don’t know where to start? We are always seeking individuals to serve on our board or be event volunteers. If you are interested, please contact us at the addresses listed above.

Donations may be sent to the PHC Arts Council, P.O. Box 1045, Paris.


ARTYFACTS is a column provided by the Paris-Henry County Arts Council. It appears monthly except when there’s a worldwide pandemic. The Arts Council may be reached at 642-3955.

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