Indulge, excite, and uplift your senses in the art districts and galleries of Tennessee and take home a memory or memento of inspiration. Here is a sneak peek at a few must-see spots. Click for a complete list of galleries and art districts in the state.
Relax and rejuvenate in the Bluff View Art District in Chattanooga, a historic neighborhood filled with restaurants, a coffee house, an art gallery, an historic bed & breakfast, and plenty of gardens, plazas, and courtyards. The neighborhood stretches over 1.5 city blocks and sits high atop stone cliffs with breathtaking views of the Tennessee River as well as downtown Chattanooga and the Walnut Street Bridge.
With Knoxville as home to 21 museums in total, the choice is a matter of your whim. For art, head to downtown’s Emporium Center Gallery. The center showcases the diversity of art and culture created throughout the greater Knoxville area; the exhibitions present visual, performance, and installation art, music, and poetry. Stop in to see fine examples of African-American Appalachian Arts in the same venue. Travel up and down Gay Street for an artistic feast at various galleries and in Market Square, downtown Knoxville’s jewel.
The stretch of Nashville’s 5th Avenue around the pedestrian Arcade is the up-and-coming art district, with dozens of galleries that offer a wide range of art and viewing experiences, from glamorous and cosmopolitan to minimal or contemporary. The Arts Company is one place to stop and browse. If you work up an appetite while exploring the art district, try one of the restaurants and cafes in the area.
Travel and muse through shops, galleries, and studios of local artists in a gorgeous eight-mile mountain loop in Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Take a break and have lunch at the charming Wild Plum Tea Room.
In upper East Tennessee, spend some time at Farmhouse Gallery and Gardens in Unicoi, where you can see the studio and gallery of wildlife artist Johnny Lynch, along with the perennial gardens, blacksmith shop and more. Stop by the Johnson City Area Arts Council & Gallery to tour the gallery and see what other arts events are on tap and visit the galleries in the Blue Plum section of downtown. A visit to the James-Ben Studio and Galleries promises to delight with a plethora of local art, handmade pottery and many other unique items which represent the beautiful culture and heritage of East Tennessee.
In Memphis, you’ll find “art with an attitude” at Artitudes. Find African-American art and artifacts at the Willis Gallery on Beale Street, and be sure to stop by the quirky and entertaining Center for Southern Folklore, where you will find food and drink, music and art, film and books.