Nashville Trip Idea: Arts and Culture
Did you know that before Nashville was known as ‘Music City’ it had the nickname ‘Athens of the South’? It earned that nickname in the 1850s because of the number of colleges and universities located in the city as well as for being the first southern city to establish a public school system. For the state’s centennial celebration in 1897 Nashville contributed a temporarily constructed replica of the Greek Parthenon to pay homage to its nickname. The city loved it so much that it was rebuilt as a permanent structure and now The Parthenon can be seen and toured at Centennial Park. It is also home to the city’s art collection.
Nashville’s art scene continues to grow and flourish. The heart of the Nashville art scene is the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Housed in a beautiful art deco building that was originally the city’s main post office, The Frist is unique in that it doesn’t have any permanent collections, but instead offers an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions.
A wildly popular event for art lovers is the First Saturday Art Crawl. More than 20 venues participate in this free event that takes place along the 5th Avenue of the Arts downtown including The Arts Company, Tinney Contemporary, Rymer Gallery and a cluster of galleries housed in The Arcade. In addition to these, there are dozens of other galleries spread throughout the city that lovers of art will want to explore. ExploreNashvilleArt.com is a great resource to find both public art and galleries throughout Nashville. It also lists them by neighborhood so you can explore an area at a time.
Other great places to visit include Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, home to world-class collections of English and American contemporary pieces, David Lusk Gallery for contemporary art, and LeQuire Gallery & Studio to see paintings as well as sculpture from Alan LeQuire, the sculptor of the Musica sculpture at the Music Row roundabout and Athena Parthenos inside The Parthenon. Within the city of Nashville, you can visit more than 75 art galleries and ponder a wide variety of visual art.
Experience the vibrant performing arts scene in Nashville with an exhilarating stage show or performance. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center offers a full slate of Broadway plays and musicals each year along with other touring productions, and is home to the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theatre. Engage in something new at OZ Arts Nashville, known for its innovative contemporary art experiences. Visit the stunning Schermerhorn Symphony Center for a performance by the Grammy-award-winning Nashville Symphony, who put on an impressive calendar of performances and concerts throughout the year.