Art is a constant companion of Nash Acuna

Published 11:37 am Friday, May 14, 2021

The Art Space at the Five One Eight Boutique Store in downtown Elizabethton has a new little art gallery, whose owner is no stranger to Elizabethton. The owner is Shanasha “Nash”  Acuna, of which art has long been a part of her life. 
Although she has done a lot of other things, including client program supervisor at Adeeco; customer service at Reinhart Foodservice. and human resources recruiter at Wyndham Vacation Resorts, she is no stranger to Elizabethton. She is home-grown and graduated from Elizabethton High School. So, she knows Elizabethton quite well as she is now serving as President of the Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance. 
Her art space at Five One Eight allows her to show off some of her artwork, and widens her teaching opportunities. Nash describes herself as an “abstract” artist, who seeks to use shapes, forms, colors, and texture to create a composition. “When I begin to paint I let my work evolve and materialize as I paint. It is a self-expression and I try to convey that in the classes I teach,” she said.
She has had a lot of experience with paint and craft parties and pet portrait classes and does do some private lessons. Nash formerly had a small studio in Johnson City, but when the pandemic hit, the business had to close and she lost her studio space. She has previously taught art in downtown Jonesborough and has done some classes at the Riverside Tapp House. Soon, her work will be displayed on the wall of the Tap House.
Nash recalls as a child being caught by her mother as she drew a field of flowers on her wall, her feet sticking out from under the bed. “I have always been interested in art, and although I have worked at other jobs to make a living, my first love was and still is art,” she said.
When she was 17, her father bought her an oil painting set, and that ignited her interest in painting. In 2005, Nash gained a Career Artist certification from Penn Foster while working full-time in the staffing industry. Soon afterward she was accepted for her first gallery show with On the Verge Gallery in Greenville. Her oil paintings were front and center at the show.
Once her last corporate workplace shut down, Nash decided to focus on her art and has ever since. “I’ve not regretted it. My art has brought me much joy and fulfillment,” she said this week.
Since Sept. 1 she has been serving as the new president of the Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance. Her goals are to expand the organization, including the hopes of office space, and spreading out through Carter County. Her hope is to reach artists in the community who feel there is nothing for them here. Nash said she could identify with them, knowing the struggle of finding work as an artist and providing an income for your family. 
Nash is married to Jason Acusa and has a six-year-old daughter, Ivy, who takes up some of her time, but are supportive of her career.
Nash believes art is a wonderful tool for almost everyone – from chalk drawings on the sidewalk to doing portraits. “Art is magical. It is one way we can express ourselves. Art is now always painting or drawing. It is creating something, such as crafts,” she said.
She hopes her art will find its way to the walls of someone’s home or business. “There is nothing more gratifying that knowing something you created found a place in someone else’s living place,” she shared.

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