Friday Forum Takes a Look Back at the History of Architecture and Open Houses in Jackson and Madison County

JACKSON, Tenn. – The Bicentennial Edition of First Friday Forum will continue downtown at First Methodist Church on Friday, April 1.

The bicentennial programming and event theme for April is architecture and open houses. Former Dean of Arts and Communications at Lambuth University, Dr. Larry Ray will speak on the past, present and future of Architecture and Open Houses in Jackson and Madison County.

First Friday will be held at First Methodist Church located at 200 South Church Street in downtown Jackson on Friday, February 4. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., lunch will be served starting at 11:45 a.m., and programming will start at approximately 12:15 p.m.

As this is a catered event, advance tickets are required for attendance. The cut-off for purchase is 6 p.m. the Tuesday prior to the event. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased using a debit or credit card at

Tickets can also be purchased by cash or check at the First Methodist business office during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday or 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Fridays).

First Friday is sponsored by TLM Associates, Inc.

The Bicentennial edition of First Friday is held on the first Friday of every month through August 2022. Sharon Younger of Younger Associates will be speaking about small business on May 6. A reservation link will be released on soon.

About Dr. Larry Ray

Dr. Larry Ray is a Memphis, Tennessee native. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts (Art/English) teacher certification from Lambuth University in 1964. He then continued his education at the University of Mississippi by receiving his master’s degree of Arts (art history/studio/art education) in 1966. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (interdisciplinary degree: history of Interior design, decorative arts, and textiles) in 1988.

After graduating with his master’s degree, Dr. Ray began to work at Lambuth University as a Professor of Art and Interior Design. During his career at Lambuth University, he was the chairman of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and Visual Art, 1984- 2010. He later became the Dean of the School of Arts and communication, 1993- 2010.

Dr. Ray has achieved many things in his years of work. He served as the official designer of the sets for the 1985, 1986 and 1987 Miss Tennessee Pageant that was held at the Jackson Civic Center. In 1987, he was chosen to observe the set design and construction of the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.

He has also received many special honors for his work and dedication. In the fall of 2007, the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation honored Dr. Ray with the establishment of the Dr. Lawrence Allen Ray Endowment for the Arts. In July of 2008, Dr. Ray was named a Lifetime Member of the Board of the Jackson Arts Council.

On April 17, 2010, the combined mayors of Madison County and the City of Jackson issued a proclamation that April 17, 2010, will be Dr. Lawrence Allen Ray Day in Madison County and the city of Jackson.