Jen ColeWelcome to Nowville, Athens of the South!

The last eighteen months have seen an explosion of articles in GQ, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, Forbes and Money Magazine all paying homage to Nashville’s art, fashion, music and cultural renaissance. 

We are known the world over as the birthplace of Country Music. From the first broadcast of WSM/the Grand Old Opry in 1925 to now, Nashville has grown to have the largest per capita concentration of songwriters and musical professionals in the world. But for decades, we've been more than country! We are home to Naxos, one of the largest labels for classical music in the U.S. and rock greats Jack White, Ben Folds, Kings of Leon as well as leaders in gospel, bluegrass and barbershop harmony all call Nashville home.

With seventeen universities and more than 40,000 creative workers, Nashville has always claimed a cultural life beyond music. This year's Convention will drop you into the core of our thriving visual, film, craft and maker scenes where you can visit the Wedgewood-Houston arts district, or OZ Brave New Art (our newest contemporary arts destination), or experience the largest municipal puppet collection in the world or check out the unparalleled public art collection in our new Music City Center.

So yes, I hope you will to invest in a good pair of boots and check out our honky-tonks (if you do, make sure to buy a local craft beer or whiskey, please). More than that, I hope you'll peel back the layers of this amazing city and browse the galleries of 5th Avenue or visit Cheekwood, or go backstage at the Ryman or check out the designers at Marathon Village. You'll see that music anchors us, but it is the interplay between genres and artists that brings people here, feeds our soul and drives creative innovation in our town.

We are so proud to share our city with you! Enjoy!

See you in June,



Jennifer Cole
Executive Director
Metro Arts



Want to know more about the background image?

In 2007, Alice Aycock installed Nashville’s first Percent for Public Art commission on the bank of the Cumberland River, opposite the downtown. It was honored in the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review in 2008.

Titled Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks, the 100’ x 100’ x 60’ sculpture perches on a crane base once used to launch barges. The artwork references the site’s industrial past and visually echoes current surroundings, including nearby bridges and the NFL Titans stadium. Its dynamic form conveys a sense of the area’s evolution from industrial working river to recreation and entertainment, a theme that resonated with Aycock after her first site visit. “I immediately warmed to the sense of how you can make something that doesn’t ignore what had been there, but builds on the past in some way.”

The main structure of the sculpture is comprised of arced, red-painted steel trusses that twist upward from the crane base to form a disconnected spherical shape. On the ground, a red-painted aluminum “turbine whirlwind” serves as a visual generator for the swirling trusses above. At night, a glowing neon fixture illuminates the sculpture’s center.

Aycock sees the piece as a work of static animation. “It changes as you move around it,” she says. “It suggests a certain kind of movement, dance movements, which is why I refer to it as a Ghost Ballet.” Aycock’s work directly addresses the project goals to symbolically and visually connect the east and west sides of the river and engage pedestrian viewers both day and night, while also capturing the spirit and pride of Nashville.

See a full-size image of this artwork.

Learn more about this artwork.

Learn more about Year in Review.