The first month of year is always one of taking stock based on the old year, isn’t it? And what better way to do that than to share with you the stories you loved in 2018. We crunched the data and here are the 18 for 2018 that you enjoyed most. Read, watch, and share them again. And as always, stay in touch with us via social media, or by writing to us if you’d like, as we chronicle what this creative incubator known as Watkins generates each and every day.
1. Your favorite story of the year was this video piece featuring the riveting words of actor, director, and 2018 Commencement speaker John Carroll Lynch. This one never gets old.
2. There’s still time to make some ground on our 2018 hot list to the arts, which we produced last January, and which over the year you went back to time and again.
3. The country’s “It” City and Watkins’s creative backdrop finds its (very popular) frame in our aforementioned series My615, which looks at the known and unknown gems of Nashville. This year, you took a shine to the episodes on Bells Bend Park, East Nashville’s Soda Parlor, Radnor Lake, Watkins’s residences, and Five Daughters Bakery. (We’ll even throw in a bonus one that wasn’t eligible because it took place in 2017, but which we still love: our short portrait of the solar eclipse.)
4. If you happened to miss the major national awards Watkins won this year, you might be one of the few, as this was a popular story with you…and worth revisiting, in our humble opinion.
5. Equally popular among our audiences are our Dialogues, where we talk with faculty, current students, and alums about the artistic life with direct and thought-provoking questions. People have told us they use these as reasons to stay committed to the work. We can’t think of a better endorsement. Reread your favorites this year: with Pandora designer Trent Thibodeaux, interior designer and recently graduated entrepreneur Anna Caro, and filmmaker/indie producer Jennifer Bonior.
6. Turns out a lot of you gravitate toward the in-depth pieces on Watkins creatives, especially these two, which tied this year: our Pipeline stories on Nashville food scene photographer-guru and brand interpreter Sam Angel, and on Cole Bankston, whose short film on abuse, murder, and capital punishment is racking up festival awards.
7. Art in America gave the nod to painter David Onri Anderson, but we were there first, and so were you.
9. One aspect of art school we like to chronicle are the collaborations and connections people make while they’re here. We call this series pARTners. You found this one, between two young men — a filmmaker and photographer — particularly inspiring.
10. Another tie: between the Pipeline story we did on the Watkins graphic design and illustration exhibit at Nashville’s booming airport and our Unframed episode with Kendall Bennett, who interned with The West Wing and recently headed all production on the television series Nashville.
11. With the nation wrestling with immigration, it was no wonder you were captivated by Sandra Ventura-Benitez’s work on the subject.
12. Through our Peeks and Open Studios, we showcase the process and work that finds its way into the shows at Watkins’s Currey Gallery or its downtown WAG gallery. You were intrigued by this one on women and photography earlier this fall.
13. One of Watkins’s most anticipated events is Handmade & Bound, which celebrates book arts and book artists. That passion, as well as numerous other subjects, are offered in our beloved Community Education programs. One of its instructors is Katie Gonzalez, a book artist about whom you wanted to know more.
14. Our annual fundraiser, Glimpse — where we select and then introduce you to the artists whose work you would be wise to know and collect now — was a topic you liked anytime it appeared here. You can see photos and a video from last year’s online, but don’t forget to save the date for the next installment: March 30, 2019.
16. Another Peek that was a hit with you: the senior show with Haley Grubor, Kathryn Napier, and Maigain Upchurch.
17. Watkins’s new 1885 Scholarship Campaign, which seeks to raise $350,000 to recruit the best and brightest, resonated with you. Shameless plug: You can learn about and give to 1885 anytime, or if you prefer a more general gift to the college, you can do that here. Or both!
18. And last but not least, you wanted to know more about Watkins’s pre-college program, Launch, a video for which you can view here, as well as its summer camps for younger creatives, registration for which will open mid-January.