Way back in 2011, Artober Nashville started as a way to elevate and promote the arts by focusing on everything going on in one single month in Nashville and Davidson County. There were a little over 600 events that year, presented by 163 organizations and businesses. Much has happened since. In 2014, the same year Nashville was ranked the third most creative city in the country by Forbes Magazine, the Artober celebration included over 1,000 events by 245 partners. The Metro Nashville Arts Commission estimates nearly 400,000 people engaged with the arts “where they live, work or play.”
This year’s event should prove equally if not more engaging, especially with new initiatives now finding their footing. Metro Arts THRIVE grant program is bringing more art opportunities to Nashville neighborhoods, and the new ExploreNashvilleArt.com is putting a virtual gallery and guide to public art in everyone’s pockets.
Some events that Nashvillians love will return. The Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival, Saturday, October 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Centennial Park, will act as a de facto kick-off for Artober. The free festival features a variety of dance and music performance on 7 different stages, food vendors offering authentic and exotic tastes from around the world, hands-on children’s activities, an area just for teens, a marketplace, and more, all designed to foster and intercultural dialogue. There is of course the Southern Festival of Books, a Mid-Tennessee tradition and a regional literary highlight, at Legislative Plaza Oct 9-11. Artober Nashville will sponsor a free performing arts stage with poetry readings, spoken word and dance and theatrical performances.
On Oct 17, the Nashville Print Crawl returns for its third year. A print-making experience will be offered at seven local print-shops along the Crawl, which spans the Downtown, East Nashville, and Wedgwood-Houston neighborhoods. This year’s print crawl will also include Our Town, a public-art project led by local artist Bryce McCloud. On Friday, Oct. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m., McCloud and his team will occupy the lobby and mezzanine of the Nashville Public Library’s main branch to create large-scale stamp portraits using custom 18-by-18-inch stamps on a 12-by-15-foot cut of muslin fabric. This event will also be a featured stop on the Crawl.
According to Rebecca Berrios, director Director of Community Engagement at Metro Arts, there are also several new events and initiatives to look forward to this year. Bonnaroo Artworks is a new program involving local artists and Metro’s public art collection. Funded in part by a grant from the Bonnaroo Works Fund at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Metro Arts commissioned artists, composers, poets, “sound artists,” and musicians to create new works inspired by the public art collection. Seven artists were selected, including writer Sara Estes, poets Chance Chambers and Catherine Moore, singer/songwriter Joe Nolan, musicians Christopher Farrell and William Moon, and sound artist Robbie Lynn Hunsinger. Individual pieces will debut at community events throughout October, including the Nashville Symphony’s Free Day of Music. All of the works will also be accessible on the mobile site/web-based app, ExploreNashvilleArt.com. While accessing the site via smartphone, users will find Deals & Discounts for performances and arts venues, including free admission to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
The TEDxNashvilleSalon: CREO will return for a second year. TEDxNashville and Metro Arts that bring together leading innovators, thinkers, performers and artists to conceptually explore creativity, and its influence on work and community. Held Sat., Oct. 24 6-8 p.m. at Belmont’s McAfee Concert Hall, CREO artist talks “will center on the ideas of social justice and equity,” said Berrios. Speakers include Bay Area public artist Walter Hood, PhD (Witness Walls, a public art piece honoring the civil rights movement); Memphis hip-hop artist and DJ Marco Pavé; Nashville in Harmony choral director, Don Schlosser; and artist/author team Robin Paris and Tom Williams.
The North Wall Fest, a project funded through Metro Arts’ neighborhood focused THRIVE program, will take place October 16-17 at three locations. Under the direction of artist Jamal Jenkins, the North Wall Fest will celebrate North Nashville neighborhoods and include poetry, music, food, and live-arts activities. Muralists, street artists, and painters will create murals at 18th Ave North and Herman Street, Buchanan Street, and Dr. D.B. Todd, Jr. Blvd.
Nashvillians can even experience the arts at home, says Berrios, by tuning into Nashville Education, Community, and Arts Television (NECAT) on Comcast Channel 9 in Davidson County and on AT&T U-verse at Channel 99, or online via necatnetwork.org.
NowPlayingNashville.com is proud to be an Artober partner with Metro Arts, and power Artobernashville.com. Be sure to check the site daily for events, and submit your own arts events if they’re not yet listed. Follow Artober Nashville on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep abreast of what’s going on, and remember to use the tag #ArtoberNashville to be a part of the conversation. On Twitter, keep on eye out for information on how to take part in several Twitter chats scheduled for the month focused on Nashville’s creative workforce and cultural equity.