We appreciate the attention that the Nashville Scene shows to the city’s arts and culture community all year long and their support of Watkins’ talents, events and programming. And we’re grateful for the “Writers’ Choice” recognition of several Watkins students, alumni and faculty in their annual Best Of Nashville issue!
Art exhibits by college students tend to be spotty affairs. But the Mystic Truths show at Watkins was a thoroughly excellent display and the crowning achievement to a busy year for the Co. H collective, whose multiple exhibitions in multiple venues all over the city this year recalled the glory days of the Secret Shows founded by Watkins students. We need young, hardworking artists to energize and challenge our scene, and these kids are all right. –Joe Nolan
A series of art installations at Watkins Arcade Gallery created by students from the school in collaboration with death row prisoners at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, the latest Unit 2 exhibition opened in July. Social practice art is all the rage, but when the privileged decide to create with the disenfranchised, exploitation is often the result. Not so here. This heartbreaking wonder of a series exemplifies that one-word answer to this question: “How might artists best ply their trade in the name of social progress?” Service. — Joe Nolan
Whip-smart and talented, Ann Catherine Carter was a regular fixture at art events when she was a Watkins student, and after taking over from Veronica Kavass as The Packing Plant’s curator, she’s positioned to prove herself as a conduit between Nashville’s old guard and its new. — Laura Hutson
Abstractometry graced the Frist’s Conte Community Arts space with a display that functioned as a survey of some of Nashville’s best abstract artists while simultaneously examining the manner in which our city defines itself through album art, letterpress printing, vintage signs and other graphic means. Terry Thacker, James Perrin and Alex Blau all showed stand-out work in the exhibition, setting a high bar for nonfigurative art that wasn’t surpassed in Nashville in 2014. — Joe Nolan
Patrick DeGuira has become one of Nashville’s best artists by bringing his meticulous craftsmanship to a broad understanding of the current contemporary art conversation and marrying both to his own personal mythology. DeGuira’s Shade Models at Zeitgeist included photography, models, paintings and even a full-sized rowboat. The show opened last fall after our 2013 Best of Nashville issue, but it still resonates. — Joe Nolan
David Lusk is a skilled art dealer with a proven record of connecting artwork with buyers, and news that he was opening a Nashville outpost of his successful Memphis gallery was met with almost immediate praise. The gallery’s opening exhibition, which featured work from local favorites like Mary Addison Hackett and Kit Reuther, all but solidified its Wedgewood-Houston locale as the most interesting part of the First Saturday art openings. — Laura Hutson
Best Art Programing: Seed Space
Watkins Fine Art student Kayla Saito works at Seed Space
Best Arty Hang: Nashville Artists Drinking Beer (Coop Gallery)
Coop Gallery features Watkins faculty Kristi Hargrove, Terry Thacker, Morgan Higby-Flowers and Tom Williams
This sporadic event with a deceptively blunt title is actually a fairly focused addition to Nashville’s teeming storytelling gatherings (Research Club, That Time of the Month, Pictures of Fireworks) that sets itself apart by name-checking booze, so you know what kind of party it’s going to be. Led by the Coop Gallery cooperative and hosted at Craft Brewed, NADB is frequented by some of the most interesting artists in town, who show off their knowledge of everything from bearded ladies to karaoke in short, three-minute presentations. This is irreverent, arty fun at its beer-soaked best. — Laura Hutson
The Readers’ Poll named First Saturday Art Crawl as Best Art Happening — WAG (Watkins Arcade Gallery) just celebrated its first anniversary as part of the monthly event!