Arts & Culture in Nashville

Immerse yourself in Nashville's burgeoning art scene.

The Parthenon in Nashville

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. Experience Music City with the experts on Gray Line Tennessee or Old Town Trolley sightseeing tours. There are various tour options such as city tours, stars’ homes, historic plantations, and more.

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Art Galleries

Nashville’s art scene continues to grow and flourish. The heart of the Nashville art scene is the Frist Art Museum. Housed in a beautiful art deco building that was originally the city’s main post office, The Frist 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 CHAUVET Arts, 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.

Other great places to visit include Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, home to world-class collections of English and American contemporary pieces, 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.

Performing Arts

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.