Tennessee is a treat for the artistic eye, from the impressive collection of American Art at Chattanooga's Hunter Museum, to the regional and international exhibitions at the beautiful Frist Center. Stimulate your senses with Italian Renaissance art or immerse yourself in a pre-Columbian world at the state's oldest museum, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. A vast collection of works on paper, emerging artist showcases, photography and fine crafts are the centerpieces of Knoxville Museum of Art. The Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, the Fisk University Galleries, the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture, and the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery are just a few of Tennessee's museums to interest and inspire you.
Traverse the state while immersing yourself in the always edifying culture of art. Tennessee's myriad museums cover the broad spectrum of human creative skill and imagination, blended with colorful pinches of Tennessee's local flavor. Here are a few of the state's best; for a complete listing, click here.
Cultivate culture in the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, a dynamic complex of 29 galleries, classrooms, print study room with 4,500 works of art on paper, research library with more than 5,000 volumes, and auditorium. Housed in part in the original Beaux-arts style building, the facilities include the acclaimed Brushmark Restaurant, Holly Court garden, and a grand terrace overlooking Overton Park. Set amid 17 acres of gardens, one of Memphis' premier art museums, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens is a former private estate featuring Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, the Stout Collection of 18th-century porcelain, and changing exhibitions. The West Tennessee Regional Art Center in Humboldt takes pride in being Tennessee's only permanent fine arts museum between Nashville and Memphis. Oil paintings, sculpture, watercolors, drawings, prints and lithographs, pastels, and silkscreens comprise the permanent Caldwell Collection. For something unique, step into the Belz Museum of Asian and Judaic Art, where you will see treasures from the Quing Dynasty, including ivory carvings, cloisonne, and jade sculptures, imperial furnishings and textiles; and a gallery devoted to contemporary Judaica.
Begin navigating Nashville's numerous arts opportunities at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art. Housed in a grand 18th-century limestone mansion, Cheekwood includes broad collections of American art, American and British decorative arts, and contemporary art, especially sculpture acquired for the Woodland Sculpture Trail. Cheekwood's Pineapple Room Restaurant, overlooking the west lawn, completes the experience. The proud centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park, the Parthenon serves as the city's art museum, with a permanent collection of paintings by 19th- and 20th-century American artists. Downtown Nashville's Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents the finest art from local, state and regional artists, as well as major U.S. and international exhibitions. Get a glimpse of early Tennessee artistic interpretation and become acquainted with the state's history at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. The Fisk University Galleries hold an impressive collection of pre-modern, modern, and contemporary paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles, and fine prints from a variety of cultures and by many world-renowned artists, including some Georgia O'Keefe early works. The cool funky space of Art House Gallery, located in the hip area of Nashville's 12th South shopping district, houses solely local fine art, including pottery, painting, photography, mixed media, and sculpture.
Family-friendly Chattanooga shows off a concentration on American art from the Colonial period to the present day at the Hunter Museum. The Hunter offers amazing architecture, a stunning permanent collection, and exciting temporary exhibitions. Another Chattanooga must-do, the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, houses the collections of the late Anna Safley Houston: one of the world's finest collections of antique glass and ceramics, furniture, music boxes, coverlets, and the world's largest collection of pitchers. Open the doors to Chattanooga's African American Museum--the doors are made of century-old African wood--and the education begins. Some exhibits, such as a Bushman's hut, explore African history, but the most unique items capture the regional African American experience.
Clad in Tennessee marble, with fresh eyes toward the art world, the Knoxville Museum of Art includes five galleries, a sculpture terrace, an exploratory gallery, and two large outdoor garden areas. As a contemporary art museum, KMA at the World's Fair Park develops exhibitions by emerging artists of national and international reputation. The Ewing Gallery of Art & Architecture, part of the University of Tennessee's School of Art, showcases current attitudes in art and architecture, with recent shows of book cover designs, photography by Ed Westcott and Walker Evans, Japanese woodblock prints, the art of Joseph Delaney, and TVA architecture. The Frank H. McClung Museum at UT Knoxville is a special place of discovery, with collections in anthropology, archaeology, decorative arts, local history, and natural history.
For hidden gems in the art world, visit picturesque Sewanee, where the University of the South's idyllic location and reputation as a cultural center draw talent and audiences to its University Art Center. In Johnson City, spend a day at the Carroll Reece Museum, with six galleries of art, fine crafts, musical instruments and regional history.
Date: May 17, 2013 - May 18, 2013
Bloomin' Barbecue & Bluegrass Festival
Location: Sevierville, TN
See more May events »