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About Art House America

Art House America History | A Letter from the Editor

Cultivating Creative Community for the Common Good

Founded in 1991 by Andi Ashworth and Charlie Peacock (Ashworth), the Art House in Nashville, Tennessee, quickly emerged as a unique artistic hub for rich hospitality, conversations of consequence, and imaginative creativity. For twenty-four years, a 100-year-old renovated country church was the primary setting for their work as Founders/Executive Directors of what became Art House America, a 501(c)3 non-profit.

In 2016 Art House America welcomed new directors and hosts, Nathan and Cassie Tasker, to help Art House Nashville remain at the heart of advocacy for imaginative creativity, everywhere and in everything. The Art House location in Nashville has enjoyed a long history of hosting thousands of students, artists, writers, academics, theologians, cultural investors, and leaders in the entertainment industry.

Since 2010, the work has grown to include additional Art House locations carrying on the Ashworths' original vision of promoting creativity for the common good and nurturing people looking to explore an artful, faithful life. Texas native Cary Pierce is the Executive Director of Art House Dallas with the help of Programs Director, Marissa Delcambre, while the husband and wife team of Troy and Sara Groves direct Art House North in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Art House America promotes the vision of a seamless life of Christian discipleship and imaginative living, with an emphasis on communicating the worth and necessity of all vocations, the promotion of people and earth care, and the grateful enjoyment of life.

About the Founders

Charlie Peacock and Andi Ashworth are the Co-Founders/Directors Emeritus of Art House America. Andi Ashworth is a writer (author of Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring), gardener, cook, a lover of good books, and the key architect of the nurturing environment so characteristic of Art House America-style hospitality. Some of her writing can be found on the Art House America Blog. Charlie Peacock enjoys an international reputation as an innovative and award-winning musician, songwriter, and record producer. Both Charlie and Andi have seminary training, Andi having received her MA in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. While Charlie and Andi no longer direct the work of Art House America, they both continue to serve on the board as Directors Emeritus. Andi also continues her service as Editor-in-Chief of the Art House America Blog. The couple have two grown children and four grandchildren.


The Virtual Art House

Several years ago, I worked for an independent music company in Houston, Texas. One musician responded to my order for a box of CDs and raved about an arts retreat she attended in an old, renovated church called the Art House. She had me at “old, renovated church” — I used to literally daydream about living in an old church. She briefly described Charlie Peacock, Andi Ashworth, and the creative work they did with Art House America in mysterious snippets that left me wide-eyed and inspired. I remember begging her, “Please keep me posted on Art House America and its goings-on, okay?” She promised and she did, but the Art House still remained a dreamy enigma to me, a pilgrimage destination: “Nashville or bust.”

I knew good and well who Charlie Peacock was and a few years later, I came across Andi Ashworth’s book, Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring. I read it cover to cover and from then on knew that creative caring and writing were parts of my calling, too. Much to my surprise, I befriended Andi online and a few more years down the road, she and Charlie asked me to edit their forthcoming blog. In September 2009, my husband and I found ourselves sitting in the big main room of the Art House, a disco ball hanging overhead, discussing the Art House America Blog.

As I listened to Charlie’s and Andi’s vision for their online presence, I nodded up and down, as the notes on my iPhone already contained 98% of their ideas. The three of us longed to share and communicate truth, justice, creation care, hospitality, good food and drink, how to raise up artful children, music, all things bookish, photography, visual art, the magic of stage & screen, and the handmade life, as well as the many creative layers that each of those topics encompass. We wanted to share our stories and the stories of others using a faithful language but in a dialect that is welcoming to all. We wanted to create a “virtual Art House” — a hospitable blog where you feel welcome, want to stay awhile, and revisit often.

As I wandered around the Art House after our meeting, I grabbed an old brochure with a beautiful red “modern/vintage” rendering of the Art House (now the blog’s header) by Harrison Hudson. Instantly smitten by the image, my imagination began to build the architecture of this virtual house. I kept wandering around the renovated church and soaked in architectural details, Andi’s luscious gardens, the yellow kitchen chairs, arched windows, their grandchildren’s toys, Charlie’s vintage musical gear, bookshelves, and colors splashed around their home.

Back in Houston, they referred me to a talented graphic designer, Jacob Wick, who patiently and skillfully breathed life into each image that I could only paint in words. As we exchanged emails, I realized we were enacting some of the very ideals of Art House America: connecting one artist to another, working together to “cultivate creative community for the common good."

What I’ve created is a virtual Art House — not just visually, but also in the words and ideas within the topics we will cover. Just as the catalytic work of Art House America has grown over the years, this blog will grow too, and we can’t wait to see how it takes shape at its own pace. This blog reflects the time and space of real life — mine, Andi’s, and Charlie’s lives — but also those of our readers and other writers. As Rebecca Saylor said, “To mentor and feed those of us who are near in heart and calling, but far away in our places, with our people, living our own unique and beautiful stories.”

Welcome, y’all.

A Little About Me:

I'm the Social Media Manager and Donor Appeal Writer for Peace Gospel International and She Has Hope; a freelance writer, editor, and creative; a drummer’s wife; and caretaker of a cat, Milo, and a dog, Heidi. I enjoy many good things in my life, but I would always rather be reading. My writing can be found on the Art House America Blog, Comment Magazine, The Curator, and Proximity Magazine.

—Jenni Simmons