Tiger Feature: Real Life Events Inspire TSU Football?s First Lady
Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nashville, Tenn. - If you walk inside Stillwater’s CafĂ© on Jefferson St. you will notice many pieces of art on the wall. At a glimpse, they may seem like decorative pieces, but if you focus your attention you will see depictions of everyday life.

For Cornelia Matthews-Webster, everyday events inspired her to create meaningful art. She considers herself the originator of an artistic style known as "Sash Art". A style in which she utilizes window sashes. With 28 years of experience, she has designed pieces for the City of Denver, United Airlines and the DuSable Museum.

Matthews-Webster has created a number of notable pieces. In 1999, she was commissioned to create a Sash Art design which is on display in the 1st Sit-In Victory Museum. The museum was co-founded by Webster and her father, Carl W. Matthews, who led the Sit-In Movement in Winston-Salem, N.C.

In 2007, at the request of Tennessee State University’s First Lady, Dr. Marcy Johnson, Matthews-Webster created a design which is housed in the Women’s Center on the campus of TSU.

Matthew-Webster's Burn in the Belly Early this year, she was inspired by an article in the New York Times that showed a picture of a little girl in a pink dress that was standing in a wasteland of trash. The article expressed the global food crisis and the increasing poverty issues in Haiti.

Inspirited by the article, she has created an artistic replica of the photo. The design is titled "Burn in the Belly" and is one of Matthews-Webster’s celebrated pieces. Inspired by real people, events and situations, it is the issues that are not common in small talk that motivates her.

 Matthews-Webster's Burn in the Belly 

"I use art to express situations one might not want to discuss. We don’t express what is really in our head. We say what people expect us to say," said Matthews-Webster. "My art is my voice. I have come to a point where I use my art and poetry to express myself." 

As the wife of TSU football head coach James Webster, Matthews-Webster ignited a pre-game locker room ritual. Before the team leaves for game preparations, Coach Webster reads a poem written by his wife.

"The team looks forward to it before every game;" said Webster. "She supports me tremendously, can’t do anything without her support.

Matthews-Webster has displayed her art for purchase and is scheduling a reception for early 2009.