By Herb Sparrow
Nashville is so much more than music, but it all goes together; it has that creative energy about it,” said Jenny Steuber, director of public relations for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“The creativity of the community has really fostered a great arts community,” said CVB president Butch Spyridon. “The cultural scene has blossomed equally as well.
“And, like music, Nashville has a long history with historical roots back to Andrew Jackson. We use music to wrap all the cultural entertainment offerings, it works equally well.”
Fisk University, whose Jubilee singers played a role in establishing the city’s musical credentials, also plays a major role on the fine arts front with two impressive art galleries.
The Aaron Douglas Gallery, named for the painter and illustrator who painted murals in the school’s library in the 1930s and later established its art department, has rotating exhibitions from the university’s permanent collection of pre-modern, modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles and prints from a variety of cultures.
The Carl Van Vechten Gallery at Fisk displays work donated to the museum from the private collection of photographer Alfred Stieglitz, the husband of painter Georgia O’Keeffe. The collection includes works by O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Diego Rivera among others.
The Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art south of downtown features a world-class collection of American contemporary painting and sculpture and English and American decorative arts in the Georgian-style mansion of the Cheek family, the founders of Maxwell House coffee.
Downtown, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in the city’s impressive former Art Deco post office building has a changing schedule of local, national and international exhibitions.
There are several quality downtown art galleries, such as TAG Art Gallery, the Arts Company, Estel Gallery, Rymer Gallery and the eclectic Arcade, along with the expanding Fifth Street art district.
“The Parthenon, the world’s only full-size reproduction of the Greek Parthenon, houses ‘Athena,’ the tallest indoor structure in the Western world and fine art galleries that include a rotating gallery featuring the museum’s collection of American art,” said Steuber.