Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum Celebrates the Opening of New Exhibition

An American Masterwork: Thomas Hart Benton's “Sources of Country Music” at 50.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Feb, 1, 2024 – Last night, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum celebrated the opening of its newest exhibition, An American Masterwork: Thomas Hart Benton’s “Sources of Country Music” at 50. The exhibit explores Benton’s artistic process in creating his final painting, “The Sources of Country Music, which hangs as the centerpiece in the museum’s Hall of Fame Rotunda. The exhibit, which is included with museum admission, is now open and runs through January 2025.

The exhibit includes Benton’s sketches, drawings, preliminary paintings and his clay maquette (three-dimensional model), which were created as part of Benton’s process of realizing “The Sources of Country Music” mural. It also features a 1975 video of Benton speaking about the painting.

Benton was a leader in American Regionalism, a modern art movement that featured realistic scenes of the nation’s rural and small-town heartland. He agreed to paint “The Sources of Country Music” mural for the museum in December 1973. Channeling his lifelong passion for country music, Benton created a masterwork that depicts the wide-ranging cultural contributors to the musical genre. Benton died on January 19, 1975, in his Kansas City studio, having placed the finishing touches on this museum commission and while he sat evaluating his work. The completed six-foot by ten-foot mural is a synthesis of the artist, country music subject matter, and the museum’s educational mission.

The mural’s commissioning was supported by grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

On April 13 at 2:30 p.m., the museum will host a 90-minute program on “The Sources of Country Music” in partnership with the Frist Art Museum. Panelists will provide insightful interpretations of the painting and discuss Benton’s technique and background, as well as the story behind the commissioning of the mural for the museum.

About the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum:

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum collects, preserves, and interprets country music and its history for the education and entertainment of diverse audiences. In exhibitions, publications, digital media, and educational programs, the museum explores the cultural importance and enduring beauty of the art form. The museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is among the most-visited history museums in the U.S. The Country Music Foundation operates Historic RCA Studio B®, Hatch Show Print® poster shop, CMF Records, the Frist Library and Archive, and CMF Press. Museum programs are supported in part by Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and Tennessee Arts Commission.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is available at or by calling (615) 416-2001.