All About Firstlight


Firstlight was founded in 2006 by local artist, designer, and illustrator, Dennas Davis.

Dennas remembers there was an obvious need for art training. “I looked around for classes for my own kids and there was nothing but crafts and games. I also knew my own mom had been frustrated for years trying to find good art instruction in our area. It seemed like we needed something for artists, in the same way there are good options for dance, theatre, music, and sports.”

Since then, we have instructed nearly 2000 students from ages 4 to adult, and we have 30 weekly classes to choose from. Age groups are small, and class sizes range from 8 to 12 students.


 Our primary program follows the traditional school-year, with a long-term approach to training and mentoring artists. Every Saturday we have an Open Studio for both registered students, and prospective students. (See the calendar page for details.)

You may join a class at any time during the year.

We also have additional workshops and camps during the Summer.


We take learning art seriously, and believe that anyone who loves art can learn and improve. Some of our students are doing art for fun, and some students plan to make it their career. We have been very successful in helping artists reach different goals like these.

We’re here, because artists deserve lots of encouragement, as well as skills training and vital insights. That’s why we have developed over 350 lessons in our exlusive curriculum. Our teachers are in training every week and are working artists themselves.

Come see us and find out why everyone speaks so highly of our programs.

We’re in Cool Springs

Come see us! We have a friendly studio

Plan your visit. You can take a tour, or finish your registration process at the studio. Please call for an appointment if you need to come during hours other than below.

We’re open on weekdays during class hours. We have a Creative Conceirge to help you between 4 and 6, and sometimes a little later.


  • Monday | 4 – 8 pm
  • Tuesday | 10 am – Noon, AND 4 – 8 pm
  • Wednesday | 2 – 6:30 pm
  • Thursday | 10 am – 8 pm
  • Friday | 4 – 6 pm
  • Saturday | 11 am – 3:30 pm for OPEN STUDIO


Find us here

Take the Moore’s lane exit off of I-65 and turn west (left if coming from Franklin, or right if coming from Nashville). Go to the 3rd light, and turn left onto General George Patton Dr. It’s the second entrance on the left, and the first building facing General George Patton Dr.

Address in Cool Springs:
1710 General George Patton Dr
Brentwood, TN  37027

Tap the maps to enlarge.

Give us a call

Meet The Firstlight Staff

Betsy Caldwell

Betsy Caldwell


A talented and accomplished artist for many years, with a background in both art and teaching, Betsy has been a huge part of Firstlight for most of our 14 years. She loves painting and drawing in all media, and sells her work and prints in several venues.  Betsy has helped develop our curriculum, and oversees the SMALL program.

Ruthie Davis

Ruthie Davis

Creative Concierge

Ruthie has taught grade school in the Metro Nashville public school system for the past 14 years. She is one of the owners of Firstlight, and joins us this at the studio this year, in administration and also helping students and customers as you come in the door.

Carrie Hull

Carrie Hull

Instructor / Studio Coordinator

Carrie is starting her fourth year as a classroom teacher at Firstlight and her 6th year instructing with us. She was a student at Firstlight for several years before graduating high school and quickly moved into an assistant role. Now she has a degree in fine art from Lipscomb University (2019). Carrie also works on our curriculum.

Dennas Davis

Dennas Davis


Illustrator, painter, teacher, and director of Firstlight, Dennas has been a professional artist for 40 years. He has millions of books in print worldwide in over 30 languages, and is also the Founder of The Art Instructor, an online curriculum site for art educators.

Arianne Reducha

Arianne Reducha


With a Bachelors in psychology and a Masters in Developmental Disabilities, Arianne has merged her passion for art, with teaching and working with the special needs community, along with our Foundations courses. She comes to Firstlight from a previous position as an instructor and art program director at a special needs school in Miami, Florida.

She mostly enjoys painting with watercolors and doing large scale commissions inspired by her love for nature.

Maggie Ives

Maggie Ives


Maggie began as a student at Firstlight in our early years when she was 11. She became an accomplished advanced student, and moved into an assistant teaching position with us in high school. She became a lead teacher for us in 2017 and is working on her art teaching degree as well.

Maggie is staffing our Open Studios every Saturday this year.


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