James R. Threalkill
(b.1956) lives in Nashville
Grampa’s Nap, 1995
oil on canvas, 30 x 48 inches, 1997.138
After graduating with a B.S. in Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University on a football scholarship, Threalkill taught community art classes and worked as an instructor for the Metro Nashville Board of Parks and Recreation. He also instructed at the Centennial Art Center. Threalkill went on to become the community services director and art instructor for Edgehill Center, Inc. In 1994 he won an Emmy-Award for a mural produced with his students. Then in 1995, he coordinated a mural project with students in Soweto, South Africa where he met President Nelson Mandela. The mural was displayed at the Regina Mundi Church (the largest Roman Catholic Church in South Africa) in Soweto and featured images of Mandela, Steve Biko, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and singer Miriam Makeba.
In 1991, Threalkill became the first executive director for the 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee where he developed programs for elementary age African American boys. In 1997, Nashville educators and artists including Threalkill teamed up to develop a children’s book series entitled Visions: African American Experiences which was featured on the children’s television show, Sesame Street.
Nashville Mayor Bredesen appointed Threalkill to his cabinet as the Community Affairs and Arts Liaison. He was also a founding board member of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and also served as a commissioner for the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission (2004-2005). He went on to become an art instructor at Montgomery Bell Academy. Today, Threalkill continues to create art and works as the Senior Director of Diversity for Skanska USA Inc., a global construction management firm where he promotes opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. Threalkill’s work is included in collections such as the Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University, the Dollar General Corporation, the Tennessee State Museum, and many others.
My blessing of art talent is enhanced by the enjoyment I receive from the creative process and the emotional responses that it generates from the viewer…I’m grateful to share such a gift with those who appreciate the aesthetic qualities that art brings to our everyday lives. – Threalkill