ARTventure Tours

Go on, get out of the hotel and experience the incredible variety of art and culture throughout Nashville first-hand!

ARTventure Tours are a great opportunity to dig into the art all around you. These special off-site, educational tours are available to all conference attendees and are designed to showcase the artistic successes of our beautiful host city. Each ARTventure has a maximum capacity of 34 persons, so select the ARTventure of your choice when you register to make sure you get your spot!

ARTventure Tours require an additional registration fee of $40 per person. Based on availability, ARTventure Tours permit a maximum of one guest per participant.

If you do not wish to participate in an ARTventure, there will also be Convention programming during the ARTventure period. ARTventures will take place on Saturday afternoon, departing the hotel on foot or by bus (depending on the tour) at 1:30 p.m.

Tour 1: Around the Table - Homes, Studios, and the Narrative of Place
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Start by exploring the role of private homes in fostering artistic vibrancy with a visit to the historic Fisk University campus. There, you will explore the homes of some of the prominent architects and pillars of the Harlem Renaissance who together, around their tables, fostered many diverse visual, literary, and performing artists. Next, see a studio work space that has turned into community watering hole, and then finish with a visit to a private residence on the campus of Vanderbilt University where students often mingle with prominent local authors, academics, musicians, artists, and politicians. While there, enjoy a Nashville original: Poems & Pancakes—a creative, community-building event featuring some of the tastiest pancakes and best poetry you'll find in the city.
Tour 2: Printmaking: The Art Behind the Nashville Sound
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Begin at Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, where advertising and show posters have been printed for Elvis, The Grand Ole Opry, Mumford & Sons, and more. Next head over to Watkins College of Art, Design and Film, where they are training and coaching today’s up-and-coming printmakers through their undergraduate program in printmaking. Finally, visit Platetone Printshop and Turnip Green Creative Reuse, a collective of print and textile makers, and while there enjoy a hands-on art-making experience.
Tour 3: Healing and the Arts
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Begin with a visit to Vanderbilt University’s Brain Institute to hear about its research on the connection between art and brain function and development. Next, visit HAPI (Healing Arts Project Inc.), which aids people recovering from mental health and addiction issues through wide range of artistic expression. Then head to the YWCA, which offers artistic intervention programs in its women’s domestic violence shelter. Finish up at Room in the Inn, which uses hands-on art projects to aid people transitioning out of being homeless.
Tour 4: Made in Nashville: Exploring Makers in Music City
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Explore the artists, artisans, and makers who are bringing new life to art, design, and community and are part of the reason Nashville has become an “It” city. Start at Fort Houston and experience an innovative “shared space” that houses a full-scale wood shop, print shop, bike shop, and photography studio. Meet Luke Stockdale from Sideshow Signs and other leaders in the current Nashville “look” of the New South. Then head to Marathon Village — a reclaimed auto factory, home to acclaimed fashion leaders and artisanal food makers. Hear from menswear designer Otis James, leather and canvas carry goods crafter Emil Erwin, and third generation luthier Manuel Delgado. Finish with a reception at the award winning Corsair Distillery.
Tour 5: How an Idea Becomes a Song, How a Song Becomes a Hit
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Track the path of a song from idea to production and better understand the ecosystem that turns Nashville into “Music City.” Begin at Belmont University and hear from faculty in the Songwriting program at the Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business. Then head to Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios, a collaborative venture in studio recording that is considered one of the world’s finest recording facilities. Finally, travel over to CMT (Country Music Television) headquarters to chat with key A&R representatives, tour management professionals, casting team members, and many others involved with the creation of CMT’s music awards show.
Tour 6: Nashville’s Hidden Treasures
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Every city has artists and agencies that preserve art forms and methods on the verge of extinction. Every city also has those places that are pushing the edge and driving contemporary innovation. Travel to some of Nashville’s gems, including the largest city-owned puppet collection in the world at the Nashville Public Library; the historic War Memorial Auditorium, a former home of the Grand Ole Opry (1939-1943) and Nashville Symphony (1925-1980), as well as a storied concert hall for almost 90 years; the Nashville Jazz Workshop “Jazz Cave,” a school and performance venue where the city’s top jazz artists teach and perform and where students, from beginner to professional, come to hone their skills; and finally OZ, a newly renovated former cigar warehouse turned world-class contemporary arts center dedicated to presenting innovative contemporary art experiences in a non-traditional context.
Tour 7: Arts and Neighborhood Transformation
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
The arts build neighborhood and community identity. In neighborhoods all over the city, arts organizations are working together and with social service organizations to help build neighborhoods, families, and the arts. Travel first to the Arts West collaborative in the Sylvan Heights neighborhood, housing the Nashville Ballet and the Noah Liff Opera Center, home of Nashville Opera. Then head over to Casa Azafrán, a community center in the heart of Nashville’s International District that houses eight immigrant- and refugee-facing arts groups committed to social, economic, and civic integration. Finally, visit DancEast, a small but mighty dance studio at the center of a multi-group collaboration of dance artists.
Tour 8: Young People as Placemakers
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Nashville is leading the charge on youth empowerment through the arts. Learn how Nashville’s independent film house The Belcourt uses films to help young people gain valuable visual literacy. Next head over to Act like a GRRRL, a summer camp for middle- and high-school girls that teaches storytelling, acting, and writing. Finally, visit the Nashville Youth Opportunity Center for a performance by Southern Word youth poets and a look at the Oasis Center artist studio, where at-risk youth are learning basics in art instruction from community volunteers. Enjoy a discussion led by Nashville education and community leaders on the role of arts in Nashville’s Comprehensive Plan for Children & Youth.
Tour 9: Art, Social Movements, & Change
Saturday, June 14, 1:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Explore Nashville’s contribution to Civil Rights through three important venues. Begin at Fisk University to view a series of murals by artist Aaron Douglas. Painted during the Harlem Renaissance, these murals depict the history and struggle of African Americans. Next visit the Nashville Public Library to view the Civil Rights Room collection and learn about the city’s civil rights inspired public art project. Finish at the Tennessee State Museum to view its African American Art collection, which is not normally on public view. Deemed as one of the best collections in the state, the exhibit features works by William Edmonson, the first African-American to be given a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.