Black Arts Bash Returns to Cheekwood, August 19

Celebrate Black Art in all forms.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – From morning to night, Cheekwood will celebrate Black artists with music, dance, spoken word, visual art and more. Attendees have the opportunity to explore and experience the many forms of Black musical expression and traditions, including gospel, R&B, and funk. Other offerings include a community quilt activity, story time and hands-on activities for the kids, and southern homecooked favorites made by local Black chefs available for purchase. In addition, and exhibition of art from emerging and established artists will be on view in the Frist Learning Center.

“Black Arts Bash is a celebration of black homegrown talent,” says Christiana Afotey, Advisory Committee member and owner of Threads by Dreads. “Our city has become a refuge for people from all over the world! Cheekwood offers local artists a home for their crafts, a safe space for black artists to connect and thrive, and a platform and audience to share their stories with.”


Southern Word
Massey Auditorium | 11 – 11:30 a.m.

Believed to be the largest spoken word youth development and education organization in the Southeast, Southern Word gives students a platform to share their self-composed poetry. Guests will hear from poets as they boldly express themselves through spoken word.

Sankofa African Drum and Dance
Massey Auditorium | 12 – 12:30 p.m.
The Sankofa African Drum and Dance group brings a heart-pounding interactive performance. Sankofa is a Tennessee based performing arts company whose mission is to rally communities around the beat of the drum to unify, heal and inspire.

Main Stage on Arboretum Lawn | 1 – 8 p.m. ;

Jovan Quallo Quintet | 1 – 1:45 p.m.
Jovan Quallo, a member of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, the Music City Big Band, and the Tennessee Jazz Collective, will perform a diverse selection of styles and sounds by legendary Black composers, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie.

The McCrary Sisters | 2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
Performing their unique style of gospel influenced by classic soul, Americana, blues and R&B, The McCrary Sisters bring an indescribable joy to singing. The daughters of late Rev. Samuel McCrary (a founding member of the legendary gospel quartet, The Fairfield Four), have performed with musical icons including Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, and Stevie Wonder.

Sunny Dada & Afrokokoroot | 3:45 – 4:30 p.m.
Afrokokoroot brings a celebration of Afrobeat to Cheekwood, with their blend of driving horns, pulsing polyrhythms, and socially conscious lyrics. Afrokokoroot live performances are a full sensory experience—an incredible musical & visual immersion.

Charles “Wigg” Walker | 5:30 – 6:15 p.m.
A Nashville native, legendary soul singer Charles “Wigg” Walker is one of the few remaining original soul singers from back in the days when old school R&B/soul was brand new on the music scene. Walker cut his first record in 1959 and has been performing steadily since then.

Brassville | 7 – 8 p.m.
A local band comprised of musicians from Tennessee State University and Howard University, Brassville was formed with the intention of bringing the brass band tradition back. Cap off the evening with sophisticated brass from one of Nashville’s most exciting live acts.

Black Arts Bash Fine Art Exhibition
Frist Learning Center Great Hall
In celebrating Black art of all forms, the 2023 Black Arts Bash Fine Arts Exhibition is the visual component, featuring both emerging and established artists, and aims to tell stories from the mundane to powerful. The show provides a platform for artists as well as a mentoring opportunity. Featured artists include Higgins Bond, DaShawn Lewis, Kimberly Manson, Eric Nyamor, Shadale Smith and X Payne. A panel discussion will take place with the established artists from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. High school and University artists will be available for drop-in visits from 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. and 4 – 5 p.m.

The show opens concurrently with Black Arts Bash on August 19 and runs through August 31. For this intergenerational exhibition, Cheekwood is still seeking work (painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, fashion, etc.) made by artists in the Greater Nashville Area who identify as Black or Mix-race. Interested applicants can apply through July 29th at

The Urbaanite Nashville Lounge
Massey Auditorium | 1 – 4 p.m.
For the 21+ crowd, break from the heat and visit the Urbaanite Nashville Lounge for a fun cocktail tasting experience by African American-owned spirits brands under the Bevmatic Brands portfolio. Guests will learn about the brands, find a new favorite drink for the summer, and meet the incredible women behind Urbaanite and Bevmatic Brands.

Food Vendors
Homecooked favorites provided by local Black chefs from Onyx Foods, including David Swett, Jr., Albert Lovelace, and Troy Stovall, will be available in Lot B from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Southern comfort options will be available throughout the day, along with fare from other local food trucks. ;

Arts and Goods Vendors
Local artisans will sell their creations in Lot B, including The Black Candle Company, Junebug Evolutions, North Nashville Arts Coalition and Threads by Dreads. ;

Community Activity: African Textile Quilt
Arboretum Lawn | 10 am – 5 pm
Guests will learn about the colors and symbols in African textiles, including Kente cloth and Adinkra cloth. Drawing inspiration from the meaningful patterns and brilliant colors of artists such as Frank Frazier and Yinka Shonibare, participants will choose a fabric square and use materials like fabric markers and stencils to create their own unique design. Each completed square will be added to a larger canvas to create a "community quilt" display.

Family Activity & Storytime Across from Botanic Hall 
Family Activity | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Learn about artists Aaron Douglas and Beauford Delaney. Aaron Douglas (1899 – 1979), was an internationally recognized visual artist of the Harlem Renaissance. Beauford Delaney (1901 – 1979), an American painter born in Knoxville, TN, is known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance, as well as later works in abstract expressionism following his move to Paris in the 1950s.

Storytimes | 10, 10:45 and 11:30 a.m.
The books read during storytimes celebrate talented Black authors and illustrators who have brought joy and diversity to the world of children’s books.

Black Arts Bash takes place Saturday, August 19th, from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tickets are on sale now. The event is free for Cheekwood members.

Ticket Prices
Gardens Only / Gardens and Mansion:

Cheekwood Members - Free
Not-yet member Adult - $20
Youth (3-17) - Free
Ages 2 & Under - Free

Black Arts Bash is presented by Bank of America. The event is sponsored by HCA and Asurion and supported by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Media Partners for the Black Arts Bash are Urbaanite and The Tennessee Tribune.

About Cheekwood

With its intact and picturesque vistas, Cheekwood is distinguished as one of the leading Country Place Era estates in the nation. Formerly the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek, the 1930s estate, with its 30,000-square-foot Mansion and 55-acres of gardens, today serves the public as a botanical garden, arboretum, and art museum with furnished period rooms and galleries devoted to American art from the 18th to mid-20th centuries. The property includes 13 distinct gardens including the Blevins Japanese Garden and the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden, as well as a 1.5-mile woodland trail featuring outdoor monumental sculpture. Each year, Cheekwood hosts seasonal festivals including Cheekwood in Bloom, Summertime at Cheekwood, Cheekwood Harvest and Holiday LIGHTS. Cheekwood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and nationally as a Level II Arboretum. It is a three-time voted USA Today Top 10 Botanical Garden and in 2021 was recognized by Fodors as one of the 12 Most Beautiful Gardens in the American South. Cheekwood is located eight miles southwest of downtown Nashville at 1200 Forrest Park Drive. It is open Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with extended days and hours of operation depending on the season. Visit for current hours and to purchase advance tickets required for admission.