Artists Give Back: Jolley

During these unprecedented times, artists are doing what they always do – creating.  But the purpose behind their artistic efforts is changing during the pandemic.

Art House is catching up with some of the artists, near and dear to our hearts, to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping their work, and in some cases, creating a new series of art entirely.

Local artist Richard Jolley – who is responsible for the KMA’s Circle of Life installation in the Ann and Steve Bailey Hall – was missing his usual traditions, and one in particular. Each Easter, Richard and and his wife, Tommie, exchange Godiva Chocolate bunnies.  But with stores closed, and a “shelter in place” mandate in the state of Tennessee, Richard and Tommie had to forgo this annual swap.

This got them thinking of all the things people may be missing – more essential things, like fresh food and non-perishables to eat.

Richard and Tommie’s thoughts raced – how could they take this special tradition and turn it into a way to help those in need?  As an internationally recognized glass sculptor, Richard created stunning cobalt blue bunnies adorned with masks; the “blue sky bunnies,” as he named them, are inspired by the Godiva Chocolate bunnies.


The bunnies are available for purchase from art galleries through out the United States.  For every bunny sold the vast majority of the proceeds will go to the gallery’s food bank of choice.

Each bunny is uniquely made and while the size averages at roughly just 8 inches the impact is far greater.

Knoxville is fortunate to call Richard and Tommie local artists, and therefore have the privilege of seeing the bunnies on display and for purchase at Bennett Gallery. Bennett has chosen Second Harvest food as the local food bank to support.

Art House appreciates Richard sharing this video message with us!