Nashville Community Organizations Create Collaborative Artworks Celebrating City’s Diversity in Frist Center Exhibition
Exquisite Nashville March 13–July 5, 2015
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 4, 2015)—The Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents Exquisite Nashville, an exhibition of collaborative artworks created by four Nashville community organizations that celebrates the city’s dynamic cross-cultural interactions and creative potential in the 21st century. Inspired by the Exquisite Corpse—a creative game conceived by Surrealist artists and writers in the 1920s—Exquisite Nashville contains imaginative reflections of Nashville’s various communities, including longtime residents, immigrants, refugees, and homeless individuals and families. The exhibition will be on view in the Center’s free Conte Community Arts Gallery from March 13 to July 5, 2015.
The Exquisite Nashville project brought together participants of all ages from the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee, Conexión Américas, the Edmondson Pike Branch of the Nashville Public Library, and Room in the Inn. Working with Middle Tennessee teaching artists Kaaren Hirschowitz Engel, Sisavanh Houghton, Meghan O’Connor, and Jamaal Sheats, each organization initiated a work that traveled to the other three groups for their respective contributions and alterations.
The Surrealist Exquisite Corpse game of the 1920s would begin with a participant writing a phrase or drawing an image on a section of paper. The sheet was then folded so that the phrase or image was almost completely concealed. It was then passed to the next person, who would take the small visible portion of the existing work as the inspiration for an imaginative extension of the drawing or phrase. After everyone in the group had made a contribution, a surprising hybrid image would be revealed when the paper was unfolded.
“Like the Surrealist game, Exquisite Nashville involved the passing of an artwork among several participants,” says Shaun Giles, Frist Center Educator for Community Engagement. “Each organization initiated three works of art, one of which rotated among the four participating organizations for contributions before it was revealed in its entirety, while the other two works remained within the organization and were passed among the participants.” The completed works explore themes such as the idea of home, identity and nationality, and are done in a variety of media, including fabric, metal tooling, paint on linoleum, mixed media drawings, and wood sculpture.
“The project demonstrates that the input of many people could result in a more imaginative work than that produced by a single artist or writer,” says Mr. Giles. “Exquisite Nashville brought participants together in a spirit of exchange, with the hope of inspiring our visitors to see their world in new ways through art,” says Mr. Giles.
The Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee (CRIT) provides opportunities and resources that make it possible for refugees and immigrants to build happy and productive lives in their new home. Teaching artist Sisavanh Houghton worked with children in CRIT’s Refugee and Immigrant Students Empowered (RISE) program to create several works that celebrate the diverse cultures represented within their group.
Conexión Américas assists families and individuals in achieving goals such as buying homes, starting businesses, improving their conversational English, helping their children succeed in school, and bettering their lives through nationally recognized services and programs. With the help of teaching artist Jamaal Sheats, participants used a metalworking technique called repoussé to emboss personal memories and cultural images into copper and aluminum.
The Edmondson Pike Branch Library serves a diverse population in southeast Nashville. Teaching artist Meghan O’Connor worked with a small group of dedicated individuals to create Exquisite Corpse–inspired works on linoleum. Each participant contributed whimsical images of family members, food, and landscapes, as well as iconography representative of both Nashville and their personal backgrounds.
Room in the Inn provides emergency services, programs, housing, and long-term support for Nashville’s homeless community. Working with teaching artist Kaaren Hirschowitz Engel, participants contemplated the general theme of home by focusing on specific ideas such as personal memories, the spiritual meaning of home, what it means to be without a physical residence, and the ways that one’s personal dwelling can be a place of comfort and restoration. The importance of home—its associations with memory, well-being, and family—is recognized in all cultures.
Exquisite Nashville is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
Presenting Sponsor: Nissan Foundation
Supporting Sponsor: U.S. Bank Foundation
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Global Feast: Cooking Workshop with the Frist Center and Conexión Americas’ ConeMesa Komal
Thursday, April 16
Conexión Américas’ Mesa Komal commercial kitchen (Casa Azafrán Community Center, 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211)
$40 members; $50 non-members
Advance registration is required. Participants must be 21 or older. Please contact Jessica Orvis
at 615.744.3355 or firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday, April 10.
The Frist Center and Conexión Américas’ Mesa Komal (kitchen.conexionamericas.org) invite you to a unique cooking workshop, expanding on themes in the Exquisite Nashville exhibition. Java Hemmat, a local cook and the founder of Hummus Chick, will speak about her family traditions while sharing some of the recipes and preparation techniques that continue to inspire an all-embracing conversation through food. Participants will prepare a three-course meal influenced by Java’s experiences as a Persian immigrant and a resident of the southern United States. We encourage you to join us for an intimate evening of learning new techniques, exploring flavorful ingredients, and conversing with others at the dinner table. All materials and tools will be provided. No previous cooking knowledge required. Please indicate any dietary restrictions during registration.
About the Frist Center
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art exhibition center dedicated to presenting and originating high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities. Located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., the Frist Center offers the finest visual art from local, regional, national, and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions that inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery features interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Information on accessibility may be found at fristcenter.org/accessibility. Gallery admission is free for visitors 18 and younger and to members; $12 for adults; and $9 for seniors, military, and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of Frist Fridays), 5:00–9:00 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservations by calling 615.744.3247. The galleries, Café, and Gift Shop are open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; and Sundays, 1:00–5:30 p.m., with the Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling 615.244.3340 or by visiting fristcenter.org.