Past Laureates

2017-18 LaureatesPhotographer Laureate Jessica Nelson, Painter Laureate Ginny Togrye and Poet Laureate Kory Wells

Ginny-TogryeGinny Togrye, Painter Laureate 2017-2018

Ginny Togrye is a sculptural painter and sculptor with Creative Visions Artists. She began her life and education in Louisville Kentucky and finished at Middle Tennessee State University. She worked as a scientific Illustrator at the University of Tennessee and later as a freelance artist. Togrye was awarded Painter Laureate with Cultural Arts Murfreesboro in 2017; was a featured artist at the Greenway Arts Festival and the Gallery at the Mill in Lebanon; and participates in juried shows and competitions regularly. She collaborated with other Nashville artists, on a Paint Memphis mural. Togrye also completed a mural/exhibit/installation at the Discovery Center museum with fellow laureates, called “We Are Tennessee.” Her work is included in collections with the City of Murfreesboro and with the Discovery Center Museum. As Painter Laureate, she was very involved with the under-served in her community and has hosted numerous workshops. It has been her mission to connect the cultural community, rallying in the creation of and participation in an artist directory for visitrutherfordtn tourism site and a Creative Connecting group, to keep all informed about local events and artist opportunities. The Poetry, Photography and Painting Laureates were featured in a show in the Rotunda at Murfreesboro City Hall showcasing the work completed during their term. Togrye is recently finishing phase 2 of a community art project called Heart of Tennessee, involving 24 artists, 24 businesses and 24 large aluminum hearts, and will result in a large public sculpture to be donated to the city.  Recently, she helped her community form the Rutherford Arts Alliance and was the founding President.  The purpose of this organization is to connect the creatives and community in Rutherford County. Currently, she is serving on the Murfreesboro Art Committee, a city appointed position.  Ginny draws inspiration from life and travel, tries to view the world differently, and frames her subject with her eye and paintbrush uniquely.


Jessica Nelson

Jessica Nelson, Photographer Laureate 2017-2018

Jessica Nelson's experience as a photographer spans over 20 years.  Her photographic journey began with photojournalism, later expanding to fine arts, commercial photography, and portraiture.  Jessica’s work is most often inspired by the issues facing her family and life in the growing suburbs of Nashville. Jessica's crisp, bold images are a reflection of her love of photo journalism and modern art. 

Jessica has exhibited with The Art League, Art Grind, Charlottesville Photography Initiative, and the Boro Art Crawl.  Jessica has volunteered for Look3 Photography Festival, and as staff photographer for Women’s Health Virginia.  Jessica has taught photography through various organizations including the Girl Scouts of America.  Her work has been published in media outlets including Charlottesville Family Magazine and PBS Public Broadcasting Services’ Educational Catalog.  Jessica is a member of Rutherford Arts Alliance.

 During her term as laureate, Jessica created the group Photography Connect Murfreesboro to join and serve local photographers.  Through Connect, Jessica facilitates monthly activities and curated the pop up exhibit America the Beautiful.  Jessica finished her service year by organizing Focus on the Boro, the first annual community photo exhibit and contest in Rutherford County.