James Threalkill Named Artist of the Week on The Nashville Sign

The Arts & Business Council, Blackbird Media, and F&M Bank have teamed up to present the Artist of the Week on The Nashville Sign. This week’s featured artist is James Threalkill!

James is a celebrated painter who is not only recognized for his vibrant acrylic portraits and expressive murals, but also for his art advocacy and dedication to strong community building. 

“My approach to art is to empower the viewer through expressive realism that captures the essence of our daily living experiences as well as iconic historical moments that helped to shape our personal lives and the evolution of worldly populations. My goal is to generate emotional responses that evoke nostalgic memories and current trends that we all observe and witness through human interactions.”

James graduated from East Nashville High School, and earned is way to Vanderbilt University as an athlete and scholar. After completing his degree in Fine Arts from Peabody College of Vanderbilt, James returned to the public housing community of his youth as a leader. He used his creative skills as an artist and teacher to develop neighborhood youth art programs, but was also closely involved community outreach and fundraising. 

In 1995, James was asked to serve as Special Assistant for Community Affairs and Arts in the Office of the Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, Philip N. Bredesen. This endeavor allowed James to use his experience and connections in the Nashville community to help bring diversity awareness and policy to local Nashville government. 

James served as Executive Director for 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee; managing the organization’s administrative support services, recruiting members and coordinating the youth activities. He also served as the Community Services Director of Edgehill Center, Inc. where he established several successful programs using his art as a teaching tool to educate youth on the importance of staying drug-free and in school.

In 1994, James received the Metropolitan Jaycees Distinguished Service Award. He has received national recognition for a mural program he established and received an Emmy Award in 1994 for a mural created for the Viacom Television Network. He was named CSAAM Man of the Year in 1997 and in 1998 the YMCA Black Achievers Program named him “Achiever of the Year”.

James traveled to South Africa in 1995 to create a mural with art students there. During his trip he also had the opportunity to visit with President Nelson Mandela. James was also the co-illustrator of a successful children’s book series that has been featured on Sesame Street. His work has also been featured in the Disney movie; “Snow Dogs”, “The Jamie Foxx Show”, “Living Single”, and “NCIS” on CBS.

Always on the move to find more opportunities to serve and strengthen his community, James has established a reputation as a motivational speaker, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, and Community Outreach expert. Through all of his achievements, art remains his core motivator.

“The enjoyment I receive from my daily artistic endeavors is multiplied by the ultimate enjoyment that it will bring to the countless individuals who will experience the art in the settings of galleries, museums, and other public forums. I continue to be driven by these principles and it is the most important achievement in my pursuit of artistic excellence.”

See more of James Threalkill’s work on is instagram @jamesthrealkillarts

Want to be featured on The Nashville Sign? Visual artists working in any medium, who are members* of the Arts & Business Council at the Basic Level ($30 annually) or above, are eligible to apply for Artist of the Week on The Nashville Sign.

*Those unable to become members due to financial barriers can be granted a waiver. Contact us at info@abcnashville.org to be confidentially considered for a waiver.