Artist Launches Mystery Art League for Franklin Art Crawl

by Justin Stokes

Top row L to R: robert bruce scott, Sheri Oneal, Grant Cooley; Bottom row L to R: Carrie Mills, Michael Damico, Randy Purcell

On Friday, October 1st, the Franklin Art Crawl will introduce crawl participants to a new activity for the crawl: The Mystery Art League (MAL).

According to information provided by the interactive art show, “The Mystery Art League is a group of artists serving various mediums to bring interactivity and fun to the art exhibition space. Engaging the general public through the technical and thematic components of art, the Mystery Art League creates games that have arts patrons look for clues to uncover hidden stories.” This event will be held through the December Franklin Art Crawl.

The architect behind the MAL—Mt Juliet native Randy Purcell—says that MAL comes to Franklin after months of hard work during COVID-19 and a few test runs.

“Getting the first official Mystery Art League event together has been quite the challenge,” Randy tells the Williamson Source. “It’s great to finally see it come to life.”

The idea came to Randy after he engaged with friends on the subject of making art more engrossing. Randy knew that he wanted to do something fun that allowed him to collaborate with his friends. Additionally, he wanted to create an exhibit that drew someone into a whole new world, forcing them to analyze every single detail of an art piece.

Randy explains, “By making Mystery Art League a game, I get the best of both worlds—an art exhibit and a scavenger hunt concept. I’m not only trying to put on a fun event for the public, I’m also trying to get people to see art as a fully dynamic thing. When an artist makes a piece of artwork, they’re giving it a little piece of their own life force. Their memory, their emotion, their essence is captured in the work, and there are a lot of clues to the artist’s identity for art in general. We’re just bringing light to that aspect.”

The end result is that one appreciates a piece of art that they’ve never seen before on different levels.

This version of the game will have participants matching wits against Millie May, a fictional quizmaster who has purposely mixed up the eight pieces of art in the MAL exhibit and scattered them at different locations throughout the crawl. Attendees of the crawl will first want to stop by the downtown Franklin Visitor’s Center, where they will be given a complete set of instructions on how to arrange the art pieces in the right order.

The MAL will have more than one winner, with drawings for a prize occurring each month. Since Randy wants to enhance people’s appreciation for art, he feels that the most appropriate prize would be the winner’s choice of a fine art print of one of the eight pieces of art.

The current lineup of participating artists includes Randy Purcell, Carrie Mills, Ken Walls, Grant Cooley, Valentine Adams, Sheri Oneal, robert bruce scott (of note, this is how this artist stylizes his name; it is not a typo), and fellow artist and President of the Williamson County Arts Council—which now operates the Franklin Art Crawl—Michael Damico. This MAL campaign was created by Randy with the help of his friend, historian and game enthusiast Tim Buchanan.

Randy plans on growing the MAL through participation in other events, including area art crawls and fundraising endeavors for worthy causes. “The thing I love about this is that I’m not only an artist, but I also get to be a curator and a storyteller as well,” Randy states. “I’ve got some really exciting ideas that are going to require a whole team of creatives to pull off. That’s what’s so captivating about this. We can showcase any style or medium that tells each story best.”

Participation in the Mystery Art League will be free for the Franklin Art Crawl. Randy encourages those who wish to partake in the fun to follow the organization on its various social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, and via the website newsletter, where clues and other details for future Mystery Art League campaigns will be shared.

For further information about Randy Purcell, be sure to visit his website and social media