The museum is housed in what used to be the main post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...
designed by Marr & Holman Architects
Marr & Holman Architects Highly acclaimed architects in Nashville, Tennessee known for their traditional design. Notable buildings include the Nashville Post Office, now known as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Milliken Memorial Community House in Elkton, Kentucky....
for the city of Nashville, which had been built in 1933-34 near Union Station
Nashville's Union Station is a former railroad terminal opened in 1900 to serve the passenger operations of the eight railroads then providing passenger service to Nashville, Tennessee...
, since most mail at that time was moved by train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...
. As the city grew, the need for a more up-to-date main facility was obvious. When a new main post office was built in 1986, the historic old facility became a downtown
Downtown is a term primarily used in North America by English speakers to refer to a city's core or central business district ....
branch using only a small portion of one floor.
In the early 1990s Thomas F. Frist, Jr., and his family, through the charitable Frist Foundation, took up the task of converting the old post office into an art museum. They implemented an interesting public/private venture between the Frist Foundation, the U.S. Postal Service, and the city of Nashville. The museum opened in April 2001.
In 1999 the City of Nashville took ownership of the building from the U.S. Postal Service for the purpose of creating the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. A renovated post office branch was opened in the basement in 1999.
The art center consists of approximately 24000 square feet (2,229.7 m²) of gallery space, used to present visual art from local, state and regional artists, as well as major U.S. and international exhibitions.
As a non-collecting museum, the Frist Center does not have a permanent collection in the truest sense; rather, the museum focuses on creating exhibitions as well securing travelling exhibitions from around the country and the world.
Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Andy Warhol's Work
June 24–September 11, 2011
Over the course of his meteoric career, Andy Warhol (1928–1987) used the medium of music to transform himself from fan to record album designer, producer, celebrity nightclubber, and rock impresario. Warhol Live presents a comprehensive exploration of the artist’s work as experienced through the lens of music and dance. This exhibition juxtaposes major pieces (Elvis, Marilyn, Liza Minnelli, Grace Jones, Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, the Self-portraits and the Campbell's Soup Cans) with lesser-known works inspired by music and the performing arts (album covers, illustrations, photos and Polaroids), along with films and sound recordings, which provide a visual and aural score to Warhol’s extraordinary work and life. The exhibition includes nearly 300 works, including objects and documents from the artist’s personal archives.
Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection
May 20–August 21, 2011
Gather Up the Fragments focuses upon the collection of Faith and Edward Deming Andrews, who from the 1920s through the 1960s formed a large and important assemblage of Shaker art and pioneered Shaker studies. This comprehensive exhibition includes more than 200 objects—furniture, drawings, household objects, textiles, baskets and kitchen implements—and will provide insight into this intriguing religious group that valued many ideas that resonate today such as equality, pacifism, community, sustainability, responsible land stewardship, innovation, simplicity, and quality in work.
Vesna Pavlovic: Projected Histories
June 24–September 11, 2011
This exhibition will include photographs taken in Vesna Pavlovic’s native Serbia and the United States over the last two decades. Focusing on sites and events of cultural significance, Pavlovic examines the power of photography to shape the perception of history as an expression of people’s dreams and aspirations by projecting and conflating self-images and national ideologies. The exhibition begins with a selection of photographs that were taken in Serbia during the 1990s and explore the failure of utopian modernism under Communism while posing questions about the veneer of normalcy maintained during the civil war and allied bombardment. It concludes with an installation of recent works that considers the values and consumerist ideologies relating to contemporary American life.
Vesna Pavlovic: Projected Histories is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
Connecting Cultures: Children's Stories from Across the World
April 15, 2011–March 27, 2012
In 2010, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts partnered with ten Nashville organizations that represent cultures from around the world. The goal was to create an exhibition of artworks depicting the children’s stories of different traditions. Ten artists and the Frist Center’s community outreach team led workshops in which the artworks on view in this gallery were created. Connecting Cultures: Children’s Stories from Across the World begins with the premise that the stories of children simultaneously reflect unique cultural values as well as perspectives that are shared by people worldwide.
All the artworks were created by an intergenerational group of more than two hundred participants. With the guidance of the lead artists, participants acquired and developed skills relating to composition, visual storytelling, and ways of using visual art techniques as a way of reflecting and interpreting narrative stories. It was interesting to discover that even within the same culture there were often diverse interpretations of a single story, often leading to strong discussions amongst the participants. The artworks created for this exhibition are as diverse as the communities, participants, and stories themselves.
Boaz Vaadia Sculpture
Through February 1, 2012
Asa & Yehoshafat, a work by New-York based sculptor Boaz Vaadia, is installed near the Demonbreun Street entrance to the Frist Center. Born in Israel in 1951 and raised on a farm where he developed a deep love for the earth, Vaadia creates works in stone and bronze which celebrate the spiritual connection between humanity and nature.
A primary goal of the center is in supporting arts education. The center provides services such as teacher education, summer arts camps, community outreach programs, and various other programs designed to further arts education.
As soon as visitors approach the Upper Level of the Frist Center, they can hear the lively sounds of visitors having… fun in the award-winning Martin ArtQuest Gallery
, the Frist Center’s colorful interactive space. Often called the heart and soul of the Frist Center, ArtQuest’s hands-on stations invite visitors to become artists as they learn. Visitors of all ages are invited and encouraged to create prints and collages, paint and sketch, or learn about photography, architecture, and the essentials of art, including depth, color, light, and perspective. The activities at the stations change as the Frist Center’s exhibitions change, so there is always something new to try.
The Martin ArtQuest Gallery is not just for kids. Everyone is welcome to come in and learn about and make art. It’s not at all unusual to see a grandparent, parent and child all participating in the same engaging activity.