Nashville Arts and Performances


For more than 200 years, Nashville has been entertaining audiences around the world. Classical art and modern day pop are equally at home in Music City. From opera to country, ballet to rock, the performing arts are prominently displayed in Nashville.

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Blair School of Music
Blair School of Music serves as the focal point within Vanderbilt University for the study of music as a human endeavor and as a performing art, addressing music through a broad array of academic, pedagogical and performing activities. The Blair School maintains and promotes the highest standards in the pursuit of scholarly and creative work, in the delivery of instruction and in the promotion of professional and public service.

Bluebird Cafe
Featured on ABC’s hit show “Nashville,” the Bluebird Cafe has a national reputation as the place to be heard in Nashville for songwriters. In the intimate “in the round” setting, songwriters sit in a circle sharing their songs and the inspirations behind the music. This format has become an important part of The Bluebird Cafe’s tradition. The audience is given a unique opportunity to hear original material from different points of view in a casual, comfortable environment. It’s a chance to discover up-and-coming writers or to hear hits, new and old, from some of the best of the best.

Community Concert Series
Throughout the warmer months, the Nashville Symphony performs free outdoor concerts in various parks all over town. Ranging from big band to ballroom, the music encourages visitors to bring picnic baskets and dancing shoes.


Grand Ole Opry
Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday night, the Grand Ole Opry brings the sounds of the world’s longest-running radio show (over 85 years!) and an incredible mix of talent to a live audience. Airing live on 650 WSM-AM, SiriusXM and www.opry. com, the program pays homage to country music’s past while celebrating its future. Summer months are highlighted by free Opry Plaza Parties before the weekend performances. Guests can also enjoy Opry Country Classics at the Ryman Auditorium on Thursday nights during the early spring season, March-May, or during the month of October.

Fontanel Mansion
The Fontanel Mansion is the 27,000-square-foot log home formerly owned by Country Music Hall of Fame® member Barbara Mandrell. Located less than 15 minutes from downtown Nashville, the mansion boasts three stories, more than 20 rooms, 13 bathrooms, five fireplaces, two kitchens, indoor pool and even an indoor shooting range on 136 acres of pristine land. An exclusive spot for the stars, the home and grounds have been the setting for numerous photo and video shoots. Additionally, the mansion features one-of-akind items, personal photos, and keepsakes of the Mandrell family and of artists including Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and many others. Guests can also experience The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel, their outdoor music venue. Located in Whites Creek and featuring state-of-the-art sound in a cozy wooded setting, the natural amphitheater offers a one-of-a-kind concert experience.

Keb’ Mo’s Monday Night Blues
Keb’ Mo’ Monday Night Blues is a Music City Soul Series event at the Pepsi Studio Gallery on the grounds of Fontanel Mansion. On the first Monday of every month, Keb’ Mo’ will invite special guests to jam with him for an evening of amazing music.
Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’ has some very special friends in mind to play this series with him. So, you never know who you’re going to see at this monthly event.

Music City Roots
Music City Roots: Live From The Loveless Cafe is a weekly, two-hour live radio show and concert that revives the historic legacy of live musical radio production in Nashville. Broadcast on Wednesday nights from 7:00-9:00 pm cst, Music City Roots showcases Nashville’s astonishing music scene. From country and Americana to more progressive interpreters of tradition, this “roots and branches” format brings together fans of different tastes and generations. The show airs on more than 25 affiliate stations from coast-to-coast and streams online.

Nashville Nightlife’s “The Best of Country Music Show”
Experience a celebration of country music from both past and present. Hear songs first made famous by great artists like Hank Williams, Sr., Patsy Cline, Shania Twain and Garth Brooks. Throughout the season, many guest stars make appearances including Tommy Cash, Steve Hall & Shotgun Red and Diana Murrell. Exclusive autograph and photo sessions follow each show.

Nashville Opera Association
The Nashville Opera Association is Middle Tennessee’s only opera organization. In a typical season, the Opera produces four main-stage performances and completes a six-week tour to area schools. The NOA also holds a three-month residency Young Artist Program for young professional singers and conducts numerous community outreach programs.

Nashville Symphony
With more than 200 performances annually, the Nashville Symphony offers local audiences a range of classical, pops and Pied Piper children’s series concerts. The Grammy award-winning symphony shares its artistry with national and international audiences through critically acclaimed recordings on Naxos’ American Classics series. The Nashville Symphony currently sells more CDs than any other American orchestra.
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center is the home of the Nashville Symphony. This facility is a state-of-the-art concert hall with acoustic designs influenced by the best symphony halls in the world. The 197,000-square-foot neo-classically inspired building is the cultural heart of flourishing downtown Nashville. The Laura Turner Concert Hall is the main performance space within the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, with a unique floor system that can change from raked seating to table seating for pops and jazz performances.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center
The performance venues at TPAC are Andrew Jackson Hall (2,472 seats), James K. Polk Theater (1,075), Andrew Johnson Theater (256) and War Memorial Auditorium (1,661), the historic landmark located across 6th Avenue and the plaza from the Center. Among its many operations, TPAC presents a series of Broadway shows and special engagements, and administers a comprehensive education program.
TPAC is also home to three resident performing arts organizations: Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Tennessee Repertory Theatre. Presenting their work on the stages of TPAC, all of these organizations are independent of the center.

W. O. Smith Music School
The W.O. Smith Music School is a fun, safe environment where education, instruction and encouragement are offered to children with a passion for music but without the means to afford lessons or instruments. Children of low-income families have access to music instruction of the highest quality for the nominal fee of fifty cents a lesson. The 100-member volunteer faculty comprised of area musicians teaches more than 350 students each year.


Great talent comes to Nashville to take part in musical and performing arts throughout the year. Whether a children’s marionette show, a comedy or an inspiring classical play, Nashville has much to offer.

Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre
Chaffin’s Barn was Nashville’s first professional theatre. Guests can enjoy dinner while watching professional Broadway-style plays, comedies and musicals in the MainStage theatre.

Jazz & Jokes
Jazz & Jokes infuses comedy, live music and great food all under one roof. Jazz & Jokes features local, regional and nationallyrecognized comedians and musicians whose careers span from the small stage to the big screens appearing in television sitcoms, syndicated late night talk shows and blockbuster movies.

Marionette Shows at the Nashville Public Library
Held throughout the year, marionette productions represent the best of Tom Tichenor’s marionettes and his legacy as a puppeteer at the library for 50 years. They recently acquired marionettes from Chicago’s Peeko Puppet Productions as well as new productions developed by the library’s talented children’s staff.

Miss Jeanne’s Mystery Dinner Theatre
Solve a musical-comedic mystery while enjoying a gourmet dinner. Work together with other dinner guests to decipher clues, bribe suspects and make a guess as to “whodunit.” There are prizes for the winners.

Nashville Ballet
Founded in 1981 as a civic dance company and established as a professional company in 1986, Nashville Ballet has flourished as the only professional ballet company in middle Tennessee. Entertaining more than 40,000 patrons each year, the Nashville Ballet performs both classical pieces and contemporary works by noted choreographers.

Nashville Children’s Theatre
nashvillechildrenstheatre. org
Nashville Children’s Theatre, the oldest professional children’s theatre in the country, offers great plays for pre-schoolers through middle-school age children during the school year. In November 2004, TIME magazine named the Nashville Children’s Theatre as the fourth best in the nation. 2012 will mark the Theatre’s 81st anniversary. The theatre, fully renovated in 2007, provides a state-of-the-art entertainment experience.

School of Nashville Ballet
The affiliated School of Nashville Ballet has an annual enrollment of more than 500 students and offers a variety of training programs throughout the year. The ballet curriculum is firmly rooted in the classical technique, but also offers an eclectic education including modern dance, jazz and Pilates. The school’s faculty is comprised of national and international instructors who bring a wealth of teaching and performing experience to each and every student.

Street Theatre Company
Street Theatre Company is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to fostering professional, affordable and accessible theatre, music and arts education in Nashville by producing the highest quality performances and educational workshops, and providing artistic opportunities for young people. STC produces musicals and non-musicals year-round in addition to a complete line-up of youth programs.

Tennessee Repertory Theatre
The Rep is Tennessee’s largest professional theatre company. The Rep performs five main-stage and three off- Broadway productions annually in theatres at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.



The recent growth of the fine arts scene in Nashville is adding greatly to the culture and creating another way for Music City’s heritage to be told.

Aaron Douglas Gallery at Fisk University
Founded in 1866, Fisk University was one of the first private educational institutions offering a secondary liberal arts curriculum to freed slaves. During the mid- 1900s, the school determined that aesthetic development was an important part of the education process, and painter/illustrator Aaron Douglas commissioned the Fisk Murals for the new library in 1930. Douglas later established Fisk’s first formal art department where he served as chairman for over 30 years. The Aaron Douglas Gallery, a free museum, has become a venue of changing exhibitions highlighting artworks from the University’s permanent collection, as well as temporary exhibitions of artworks loaned by organizations in the art, education, civic and business arenas. The collection contains pre-modern, modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles and prints from a variety of cultures and by many mid-career, established and world-renowned artists.

Carl Van Vechten Gallery at Fisk University
In 1949, Fisk University’s president orchestrated the transfer of a gift of 101 modern artworks from renowned painter Georgia O’Keeffe. These paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures were from the private collection of her late husband, noted photographer Alfred Stieglitz. In the collection are 29 acclaimed American and European artists including Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Diego Rivera, Arthur Dove, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Gino Severini, Abraham Walkowitz and Stieglitz, himself. African sculpture from Stieglitz’s collection also was included in the gift. This museum is free and open to the public.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
Nashville stands Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art. Cresting the hillside of this 55-acre property is a 1932 mansion where Cheekwood’s permanent art collection is housed. Located in the 30,000-square-foot Georgian-style home are world-class collections of American contemporary painting and sculpture, English and American decorative arts and renowned traveling exhibitions. Collections also include silver and 350 pieces of the most comprehensive Worcester porcelain collection in America. Cheekwood’s American art collection includes 600 paintings and 5,000 prints, drawings and photographs.
The Contemporary Art collection, housed in the galleries created out of the estate’s original garage and stables, includes paintings by Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol, Robert Ryman and Red Grooms. Additionally, seven small galleries were created in the old horse stable stalls to enable the Museum to display installation art (rarely exhibited in the Southeast). Cheekwood’s Temporary Contemporary was initiated in 1996 and consists of four solo exhibitions each year. Each show features innovative, influential and thoughtprovoking works by artists in the TC gallery.

Nashville Facts and Trivia

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum has been the home of America’s music since its opening in 1967 on Music Row. In May 2001, the Museum relocated to a new $37 million building in downtown Nashville. The facility boasts a vast collection illustrating country music’s story as told through the years. An immense compilation of historic country video clips and recorded music, dynamic exhibits and state-of-the-art design, a regular menu of live performances and public programs, a museum store, live satellite radio broadcasts, on-site dining and fabulous public spaces all contribute to an extraordinary museum experience.
The museum’s major new exhibition The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country opened in March 2012 and will run through December 2013. Narrated by Dwight Yoakam, the exhibit explores the roots, heyday and impact of the Bakersfield Sound, the loud, stripped-down and radio-ready music most closely identified with the careers of Country Music Hall of Fame members Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

Nashville Hall of Fame

Downtown Art Galleries

Downtown Nashville offers several unique art galleries including those located in the eclectic Arcade and expanding 5th Street art district. Take part in the “First Saturday Art Crawl.” Every first Saturday of the month, multiple downtown galleries open their doors to avid art lovers for a night of art enjoyment.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Located in downtown Nashville, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts is the city’s largest art exhibition center. Opened in 2001, the Frist has no permanent collection, but instead specializes in exhibiting premier collections on loan from other galleries around the world. Many of the exhibits on display are compiled exclusively for the Frist Center and cannot be seen anywhere else. Located in Nashville’s former historic main post office, this city landmark was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

The Johnny Cash Museum
119 Third Avenue South
Officially authorized by the Estate of Johnny Cash, the museum will feature the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. The museum is dedicated to ‘The Man in Black’ by longtime friend and fan, Bill Miller. The 18,000 square feet of memorabilia, interactive exhibits and a 250-seat auditorium, combined with never before seen historical documents, letters, awards, costumes and instruments will take the visitor on a three dimensional journey through Johnny Cash’s life, making this THE Cash venue to visit for all ages.

Johnny Cash Museum. Nashville

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
417 4th Avenue
Nashville Municipal Auditorium’s the new home to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, which honors musicians from stars to studio players that represent all genres of music. The first floor features the museum exhibit space and Hall of Fame inductees. From Hank Williams Sr. to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Motown to Southern Rock – there is truly something of interest to everyone. The exhibit space is divided into cities that have a history of recorded music (such as Detroit, Memphis, Nashville etc.); each exhibit includes the very instruments that these musicians used to record many of their great hits.

LeQuire Gallery & Studio
The gallery features contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture with an emphasis on figurative work. Exhibits change quarterly with work from Alan LeQuire – the nationally recognized sculptor of Musica and Athena Parthenos – always on view.

The Parthenon
The Parthenon, the world’s only exact replica of the ancient Greek temple, resides only two miles from downtown Nashville. Inside the temple stands the 42-foot-tall gilded goddess of wisdom, Athena, the western hemisphere’s largest indoor statue. Housed in the downstairs gallery is the city’s permanent art collection. Known as The Cowan Collection, it spans the years 1765-1923. This 63-piece collection emphasizes landscapes and seascapes with techniques ranging from the smooth, almost non-brushstroke of the Neo-classic to the impasto and laded brushwork of Impressionism. All of the artists in this collection were American, and many were members of the National Academy.

Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University
The Sarratt Gallery, a free gallery, showcases artists from all over the country, as well as from students and faculty at Vanderbilt. Located in the main lobby of the Sarratt Student Center at Vanderbilt University, shows change each month and include the popular Holiday Arts Festival, which features contemporary crafts by Tennessee artists.

Tennessee State Museum
Free to the public, the Tennessee State Museum is one of the largest state museums in the nation with more than 60,000 square feet of permanent exhibits and a 10,000-square-foot changing exhibition hall. The museum’s interpretive exhibits span 15,000 years of Tennessee’s history during the Prehistoric, Frontier, Age of Jackson, Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction periods. These sections include special displays of furniture, silver, weapons, quilts and paintings produced by Tennesseans.
The Tennessee State Museum’s Civil War holdings of uniforms, battle flags and weapons are among the country’s finest. The museum also has many one-of-a-kind items associated with such famous Americans as Andrew Jackson, Daniel Boone, James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, David Crockett, Sam Houston, Alvin C. York and Cordell Hull.
The Military Museum, a branch of the Tennessee State Museum, is located in the War Memorial Building. Free and open to the public, exhibits deal with America’s overseas conflicts, beginning with the Spanish-American War in 1898 and ending with World War II in 1945. The exhibits look at the beginning of each war, major battles and the outcomes.
Included in the museum is a deck gun from the U.S.S. Nashville, which fired the first shot of the Spanish-American War. The exhibit on World War I features weaponry, personal military equipment and other materials affirming Tennessee’s involvement in “the war to end all wars.” Tennessee’s most famous soldier, Alvin C. York, is highlighted in a display including his uniform and decorations. The World War II exhibit shows propaganda posters, uniforms, a soldier’s belongings, weaponry and General Dwight Eisenhower’s jacket. On the plaza area outside the museum are memorials to Tennessee soldiers who died in World War I, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery
The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, a free museum, features six exhibitions each year that represent the diversity of artistic production today, as well as throughout the history of Eastern and Western art. In addition to exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection and organized from public and private sources, a number of traveling exhibitions are presented as well.
The University’s permanent collection, totaling more than 5,000 works, serves to illustrate the history of world art in its most creative and comprehensive aspects. This historical art collection is the only one of its kind in the area, serving the needs of students and the community at large. The collection has grown to include strong works in East Asian art, European Old Master paintings, paintings from the Barbizon school and African, Oceanic and Pre- Columbian art and artifacts.
The gallery’s most recent addition to their permanent collection was a donation of approximately 150 original Andy Warhol photographs and prints. This collection helps to strengthen the Gallery’s growing collection of 20th century art.

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