It’s been about six years since Franklin artist Brenda Coldwell launched what she has called her dream come true.
As she began painting full force and traveling here and there for workshops and other artistic ventures, Coldwell began to realize her own home — both in the sense of her county home of Williamson and her very own backyard — could use a studio where artists of all stripes could come together in a creative, collaborative way. So in the spring of 2016, with help from an area architect, Coldwell completed what is known as On Track Studios located on her property south of downtown Franklin.
“As I started painting and going to workshops myself and traveling, this idea just kind of popped up,” said Coldwell, who has lived in Franklin for about 20 years. “I thought I would love to own a studio where artists could rent space from me and I could facilitate workshops. It just kind of started percolating, and I decided to go for it.”
On Track Studios rose out of the shadows of an old dilapidated barn that had stood on Coldwell’s property since she first moved there. The current building is a barn-like structure that serves as a studio for painters, and includes a large room for workshops and six individual spaces as well. On Track sits on 2 acres and also has outdoor areas where “en plein air” is popular. The studio includes two large porches and even an amphitheater that can be used for various purposes.
“This area is brimming with a wealth of amazing artists who share their passion for painting,” Coldwell said through her On Track Studios website. “This studio is a result of a desire, to have an ideal work space conducive to the entire process of creating art. It is with a truly joyous heart that I am allowing this amazing journey to happen.”
Coldwell’s father was in the military, so she lived in several states and in Germany as she was growing up. Her family finally settled in Tennessee in 1972, and she graduated high school in Murfreesboro as well as Middle Tennessee State University.
Both her parents were artistic, and Coldwell developed those same tendencies through painting, drawing, sewing and making crafts.
“I have that creative thing inside of me,” she said.
Coldwell worked for 17 years as a nurse, but later turned to painting as a career. And with On Track Studios continuing to stay busy — even pulling through the lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic — Coldwell is in her happy place.
“It really is a dream come true owning this place,” she said. “We collaborate as artists. It’s just a very supportive community.”