NASHVILLE, TENN — (April 30, 2019)—After nineteen years in East Nashville’s 5 Points, Art & Invention Gallery, creator of the Tomato Art Fest (TAF), will be permanently closing its doors May 31, 2019. Owners Bret and Meg MacFadyen will be retiring to their home in Woodbury, TN, where they will pursue many new projects. The couple encourages all Art and Invention Gallery enthusiasts to stay tuned for future fun, artful activities, and soulful offerings!
The MacFadyens will be selling their properties (including the neighboring Idea Hatchery business) to Christian Paro of Paro South, LLC DBA C615. Paro is a longtime commercial property owner, manager, and developer in East Nashville. He will continue the small business initiatives the MacFadyens started with the Idea Hatchery by continuing to offer small retail spaces at a reasonable price. This will be an extension of Paro’s assemblage of co-working and group working spaces on Main Street and around East Nashville. These include Center 615, Studio 615, Main Street Gallery along with other projects.
As an East Nashville resident and business owner, Paro understands the importance of broad business participation, capturing both the energy and the spirit of the East Nashville community, and encouraging new and unique businesses to plant roots in the neighborhood. The MacFadyens trust that Paro is the perfect steward for the properties and that his love for the East Nashville community mirrors their own.
The History of Art & Invention:
The MacFadyens moved their design/build company to East Nashville in May 2000. MacFadyen Art & Invention focused on staging and scenery for feature film, video, and television.
In the Fall of 2001, they opened the Art & Invention Gallery. Over the years, the gallery has showcased a broad palette of work offered by local, regional and national artists.
“Our mission has always been to have a gallery where everyone felt included – a gallery where there was a wide range of art styles and prices, so anyone who walked through the door felt welcomed,” said Meg MacFadyen. “I’m proud of the work we have done over the years.”
With an open door policy, artists were encouraged to experiment and explore at Art & Invention Gallery. The gallery quickly became a reflection of the unique community and the creative spirit that was growing in East Nashville. Over the years, Art & Invention Gallery sent out thousands of commission checks to many crafters, painters, designers, illustrators, glassblowers, writers, musicians, potters, jewelry artists, chefs, sculptors, stained glass makers, etc. All of whom were encouraged to do their own thing.
Summer of 2004 witnessed the launch of the popular East Nashville Tomato Art Fest - which truly was, and remains “a uniter, not a divider; bringing together fruits and vegetables”. The festival started as a simple art show with an attendance of about 1,500 people in 2004 and grew into a thriving festival with an attendance of over 60,000 people in 2018. East Nashvillians embraced the quirky neighborhood festival, and community efforts created fun events that set the tone of playfulness that makes this festival special.
As the Tomato Art Fest grew, it became necessary to bring in experienced event planners to ensure that all activities ran smoothly. The MacFadyens had the good fortune to partner with Jack Davis of Good Neighbor Festivals, who was able to help take the festival to the next level of growth. Over the years, Davis has coordinated TAF street and vendor operations as well as sponsorship and festival participation with great success. Turning the Tomato Art Fest over to Davis upon the MacFadyen’s retirement seems like a natural fit. With Davis’ broad imagination, solid business expertise, and community understanding, East Nashville will enjoy a wonderful Tomato Art Fest experience for many years to come!
In 2007, the MacFadyens partnered with Wayne Goodwyn of Wonders on Woodland to create the “I Dream of Weenie” hotdog stand. In 2011, the hot dog stand was sold to Leslie Allen, who took a wonderful idea and made it even better by adding more unique menu items and events. It is truly “East Nashville’s only Full Service Weenery”, and always serves their hotdogs up hot and tasty. With reasonable prices, “I Dream Of Weenie” is a dietary staple for anyone with an appetite on a budget.
In July of 2011, the MacFadyens launched the Idea Hatchery, Nashville’s first artisan retail business incubator. Hosting eight small businesses in eight small buildings, the Idea Hatchery gave new business owners the opportunity to explore their dreams through reasonable rents within a supportive community. With most of the business owners living in East Nashville, the “Hatchery family” offers each visitor a truly East Nashville experience by showcasing local business with a “can do” attitude served with a side of humor and style.
“We are grateful to all the kind, generous, creative, imaginative, strong-willed, soulful, artistic, thoughtful people who have come through our doors over the past 19 years,” say Bret and Meg MacFadyen. “We will be forever indebted to our friends, family members, neighbors, visitors, inquisitive children, abandoned cats, happy dogs, long-winded conversationalists, committed huggers, help givers, idea sharers, heavy lifters and ego sideliners who shared in our happiest times and helped us in our weakest moments. Each of you made our life a unique and fulfilled experience. We wish all of you a similar experience in your lives …with a little imagination, some trust in the unknown and a healthy dose of sweat-dreams-do-come-true and the world becomes an even more beautiful place to be! We send at love to ALL!”
About Art & Invention Gallery
Art & Invention Gallery, located at 1106 Woodland Street in East Nashville, is currently open four days a week: Thursday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., and Sunday, 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Operating hours will be extended in May for the closure. Additional information is available by calling 615.226.2070, visiting ArtandInvention.com, or following along on Facebook @artandinvention.
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