The very definition of an artist is a person who practices any of the various creative arts, including but not limited to sculptors, novelists, poets or filmmakers. Meet three practicing creative artisans who add some zest to our local culture.  

The Artist: David Arms 

What real-life situation has inspired you in your work?

Actually, “real life” is what inspires my work on a daily basis. I paint from what I think, I believe and from my experiences on this journey called life. Hope and faith are the foundation of my work, and I paint about them in very honest ways. So I guess you could say that coming to faith has inspired my work more than anything.

What is your dream project?

For years I have wanted to interpret the story of the prodigal son. Because that’s what we all are. I want to paint it symbolically so that every viewer can put themselves inside the story. But the way to approach it has yet to come. It’s a complex story that can be viewed from the standpoint of every character involved. So I continue to wait.

How has your work changed over time?  

In the beginning, I painted with much color and very loosely. Over time, without being conscious of it, my work became more and more detailed. I was suddenly painting realism. Now as a challenge to myself—I love a great challenge—I periodically step into abstract. It pushes me harder than anything I have tried so far.

David Arms Gallery, 4136 Old Hillsboro Road, Franklin, 615.628.8561,

“I guess you could say that coming to faith has inspired my work more than anything.” –David Arms

The Designer: Darcy Payne of Darcy & Marcy Designs

What real-life situation has inspired you in your work?

A real-life situation that inspired my work was the process of grief. I lost my mom at a young age to a horrific disease that slowly degraded her body and left her mind intact. Eight years later, I have come to realize that everyone processes loss differently. Some move on. Some try to forget. And some keep a legacy alive. I have chosen to keep the memory of my mom alive through fashion. I hope that through my work, others realize it is OK to keep memories of loved ones alive and share your story.

What is your dream project?

My dream project would be starting a mobile boutique and also creating a custom garment for a celebrity in town. Something that takes my brand to the next level.  

How has your work changed over time?

I think my designs have changed over time based on events—good or bad—that happen. Just a month ago, one of my most expensive garments in terms of cost to make (time, materials, etc.) was stolen at a runway event. That was pain I have never experienced before. Something I worked so hard to create was wanted so badly that someone straight up took it. Flattering? Maybe. Difficult? For sure. Although, this event led to my most promising work. I created a quilted garment out of scraps from the stolen piece. My heart went into the garment created in memory of the one that left.

Darcy & Marcy Designs, 615.855.9282, 

“I have come to realize that everyone processes loss differently. Some move on. Some try to forget. And some keep a legacy alive.” –Darcy Payne

The Administrator: Nan Zierden, president of the Arts Council of Williamson County 

What real-life situation has inspired you in your work with the council?
Personally, it’s all about connections and providing interactions for people from all backgrounds to experience art in unique, non-traditional and traditional ways. I love experiencing the creative process through the eyes of others. It’s fantastic to be able to facilitate that experience for individuals and our community.

What is your dream project?
We have a big vision. Our vision is to create a permanent home that will anchor the visual arts in Franklin and Williamson County. When this vision is realized, the Arts Council will showcase the local talented artists in our county and throughout Middle Tennessee and provide a space where classes will be held, where studio spaces for artists will be available, where artwork will be exhibited for locals and tourists to enjoy and purchase. In addition, we will collaborate with and support the arts organizations in the community by providing meeting space, networking opportunities, idea sharing and art exhibitions.

How has your work with the council changed over time?
The Arts Council started in 2006, and I came on in 2015. At that time, we focused on collaborating with other like-minded nonprofit social and civic organizations to help reach new audiences. Now, we are focused on creating a permanent home for the visual arts in Williamson County so that we can make a greater impact in our community. The visual artists in our area, like the music and performance-based arts, deserve to showcase their work in a gallery-type setting. We believe a nonprofit Arts Center is sustainable and is an economically sound and beneficial addition to our dynamic community.

Arts Council of Williamson County, P.O. Box 680213, Franklin,,

About the Arts Council of Williamson County: an all-volunteer nonprofit arts organization that hosts programs such as the Artist’s Studio Tour, Artist in Residence Program in Williamson County Schools, and collaborations with the Davis House, Cumberland Valley Quilt Guild, Battle Ground Academy and the Art Craw with chalk art Critter Invasion.