If the family that plays together stays together, then maybe the family that creates art together goes that theory one better. That’s what tends to be happening in Sisavanh Houghton’s basement studio on a typical afternoon. This enormous space that runs the length of the house has three main areas - hers, his (husband Jarrod), and theirs (the two lovely elementary-aged girls, Zoe and Ava). Not that everything is always quiet, but annoying interruptions are infrequent and short and the family is together. This is not the first purpose this space has served that involved a cast of many. When the Houghtons purchased the Woodbury, TN, home in 2003, they learned about the basement’s previous life as a square dance hall, complete with red rug-wrapped poles, DJ booth, and a plethora of torches suspended from myriad nails in the ceiling joists. There were even his & hers restrooms. The owner had a fondness for do sa do’ing and promenading, and Woodbury didn’t offer that activity at the community center, so they took matters into their own hands. Sisavanh and Jarred selected this home for the studio, outside space, and it’s proximity to MTSU - it’s only a 20 minute commute down the divided highway - where they both teach in the Arts Department. And it would be a great place to raise a family. The Houghtons converted one of the restrooms to a photography darkroom, staked out their spaces, and began to create their art.
From the artist: (when asked what the studio space was used for before....) “Oh, that’s an interesting story....”