By Courtney Underwood, Williamson Herald
will be signing books, telling stories and sharing wine and cheese with
patrons at Landmark this Friday, Jan. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Although available in bookstores worldwide, such as Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and even online at Amazon.com, Elrod chose to have his first book signing at Landmark.
“Anytime I can, I want to help local businesses in downtown Franklin,” Elrod said. “I love it here, obviously, since I moved here and I really believe in downtown Franklin, it’s a beautiful place.”
All proceeds from the book will go to Kalein; Elrod’s own non-profit Center for Creative Studies, and the inspiration for making the book. Through this and several other fundraisers, Elrod hopes to make his dream of building a permanent lodge for Kalein, where visual and performing artists can work together and learn their craft, a reality.
“Kalein is a center for every kind of genre of art – from painting to song writing, fashion design, even the culinary arts,” Elrod said. A 124-acre plot has been secured for Kalein in Woodbury, awaiting a lodge that has yet to be built. But Elrod has a clear view of how he wants it to be.
“There’s going to be a lodge for people to meet, with a full culinary kitchen and open areas,” according to Elrod. “But there will also be small cabins surrounding the area, secluded from each other, where the artists can feel totally alone and, at the same time, know that in ten minutes they can be in a community at the lodge.”
Elrod’s dream of Kalein sprung from his own experience as a self-taught artist. At the age of 42, his love of sketching led his wife, Chris, to give him his first set of watercolors. It was then that he began creating the work that makes up Beauty is Calling, all on his own.
“I want these artists at Kalein to have a mentor that is a trained master in their genre of art,” Elrod said. “I know I always felt that I would have benefited from a mentor.” And Elrod believes that other artists feel the same way.
“I asked some successful artists, like Billy Ray Cyrus, for example, if he had a mentor growing up and he didn’t, either. He felt like if he had, he would have maybe made some different choices in his career.”
To give aspiring artists the chances he never had, Elrod has already begun work with Kalein through workshops such as a Songwriting Retreat and Master Class, led by Mark Lee of Third Day and country music recording artist Bryan White.
“Between the two of them, they have 5 Grammies and over 7 million in album sales, so they’re very successful, trained artists,” said Elrod of the master teachers.
Six songwriters were chosen by judges, who then led a master songwriting class to further develop the group’s techniques and songwriting skills. They were then sent out to write a new, original song to be judged that would eventually be produced.
Fundraisers such as wine tasting parties in Elrod’s home, including one on New Years’ Eve called “A Toast to 2009,” as well as silent auctions of his artwork, are creating the opportunities for Elrod to help other young artists, like those at the songwriter’s retreat, achieve their dreams.
Posted on: 1/22/2009