Located in a former U.S. post office building (a historical delight in itself), this center brings visual art from regional artists, as well as major international exhibitions, to Nashville. Free live music is offered in the lobby on Thursday and Friday evenings, and many educational programs are geared toward families with children.
Special presentations during 2011 in the 24,000-square-foot gallery space include the photography of William Eggleston (his artistry helped elevate color photography to museum status), the Andrews Shaker Collection of furniture, Egyptian treasures, and exhibits related to a variety of cultures.
At 65 feet high, it’s the only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in existence and the centerpiece of Nashville’s Centennial Park. The building, which faces east like its Greek predecessor, serves as a monument to classical architecture, and it houses the city’s art museum. Not to be missed is the 42-foot gold statue of Athena, an amazingly detailed creation sculpted just like the original, including representations of 11 snakes on her breastplate.
The permanent art collection is a group of paintings by 19th- and 20th-century American artists. The museum brings in additional temporary shows and exhibits to entice visitors.
Stroll through 55 acres of beautiful gardens and fine art. Tranquil streams and ponds meander through gardens filled with colorful blooms, wildflowers, herbs, and perennials. The unparalleled boxwood gardens that surround the museum lend a touch of formality in an otherwise relaxed motif. Set on the Cheek family estate (originators of Maxwell House Coffee), the botanical gardens and Museum of Art are perfect for weddings and special events or a picnic while touring the grounds.
Although traditional paintings have a home at Cheekwood, the museum is especially known for its contemporary art center and programs and for the sculpture trail. Japanese woodcuts and works by William Edmondson, Red Grooms, and Andy Warhol are among standout selections.
Venture to Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion to see how the upper class lived in the 19th century or tour Jack Daniel’s Distillery for a whiff of its Charcoal Mellowed whiskey. History buffs will enjoy The Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, and Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum.
Still, you can’t miss Nashville’s music standouts. Grand Ole Opry is a mainstay of the Nashville scene. Whether or not you’re a foot-stomping fan, Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum serves up familiar names and memorabilia that even tone-deaf visitors recognize. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a major North American concert hall, satisfies classical music tastes.
As Nashville recovers from the devastating floods of May 2010, this is a great time to visit. Laid-back and busy at the same time, the city offers a medley of ways to feel its beat.
Beverly Burmeier loves experiencing new adventures and seeing new sights. When not traveling around the United States and abroad, she writes from the beautiful hill country of central Texas. Read about her journeys at www.goingonadventures.com, www.stripedpot.com, and http://tinyurl.com/bevtrvl.