The Frist Art Museum is always a good choice if you’re in the downtown Nashville area and have some time to kill. Whether you have a baby to stroll around and enjoy the current exhibitions or you older kids who love the Martin ArtQuest (MAQ) area, make sure to keep The Frist in mind.
Current Martin ArtQuest activities include painting, puppet making, botanical drawings and more. Visitors ages 18 and younger are always free, and group visits can be booked here. Prior to your visit, visit FristKids.org for activities and suggested reading.
Located at 919 Broadway in Nashville, The Frist Art Museum is open four days per week, Thursdays – Sundays from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Here’s what’s currently on view at the Frist Art Museum:
March 4–August 28, 2022
Conte Community Arts Gallery
This juried exhibition salutes the heroic efforts of teachers during the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will feature the work of elementary, middle, and high school art teachers working in Davidson County and is presented concurrently with Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful. Thomas (1891–1978), the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, was an art teacher in Washington, D.C., public schools for thirty-eight years.
February 25–June 5, 2022
Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful provides a comprehensive overview of the artist’s long life (1891–1978) with more than one hundred works, including her rarely seen theatrical designs and beloved abstract paintings. The exhibition will demonstrate how her artistic practices extended to every facet of her life—from community service and teaching to gardening and dress. A trailblazer, Thomas was the first Black American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1972, which was similar to her exhibition at Fisk University in 1971.
The exhibition will be organized around multiple themes from Thomas’s experience. These themes include the context of Thomas’s Washington Color School cohort, the creative communities connected to Howard University (Vice President Kamala Harris’s alma mater), and peers who protested museums that failed to represent artists of color.
January 28–May 1, 2022
Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery
Nashville-based artist LeXander Bryant’s debut solo museum exhibition Forget Me Nots addresses themes of perseverance amid adversity, family structures and bonds, economic inequality, community activism, and more. The centerpiece of this multimedia exhibition is a suspended cracked concrete slab out of which blue forget-me-not flowers bloom. The installation references the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s poem “The Rose that Grew from Concrete” and honors survival despite seemingly impossible circumstances.
Other components include a selection of Bryant’s studio photographs; a “memory wall” containing dozens of overlapping, community-based photos that collectively tell a story; wheat-paste murals similar to his work featured in the 2019 Frist exhibition Murals of North Nashville Now; and a projected video that depicts intimate interviews with family and friends from his hometown in southern Alabama. Together, the works offer an opportunity to consider one’s present position by thinking critically about the past and envisioning one’s legacy.
January 28–May 1, 2022
On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Pérez Art Museum Miami Collection features approximately seventy works by fifty Cuban artists of multiple generations, including María Magdalena Campos-Pons (currently a professor at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University), Yoan Capote, Los Carpinteros, Teresita Fernández, and Zilia Sánchez. Through paintings, photographs, sculptures, videos, and installations drawn from one of the largest public collections of Cuban art in the United States, the exhibition inspires dialogue regarding the physical, social, and political landscape of the island and its diaspora. Works in the exhibition demonstrate how artists can weave political commentary into their practices, providing insight into the sophistication of creative expression in an authoritarian system. The horizon line functions as a motif and symbol of personal desire, existential longing, or geographical containment throughout the exhibition—while always visible, it remains perpetually distant and unattainable.