The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Artville’: Nashville’s first public visual arts festival

Wedgewood Houston’s “Artville” provided a community for artists and visitors with public art installations, local artists’ work and immersive art experiences.
Rosie Feng
The exhibition in the Nashville Warehouse, as captured on Sep. 29, 2023. (Hustler Staff/Rosie Feng)

For the first time, Nashville hosted “Artville,” a three-day public visual art festival held in Wedgewood Houston from Sep. 29 to Oct. 1. 

The event aimed to create new ways for visitors and residents to experience art by founders Samantha Saturn and Jack Davis. It included public art installations, murals, ceramic displays, artist talks, gallery exhibitions and live music. 

Only a 10-minute drive from Vanderbilt, Wedgewood Houston, also known as WeHo, is home to many Nashville art lovers. The area has held several public artistic events since 2013, and every first Saturday of the month, the WeHo Art Crawl opens to art lovers. Attendees of the WeHo Art Crawl explored artifacts created by local artists from the outdoor art fairs and visited dozens of art galleries, including David Lusk Gallery, 185 Alley Gallery, Prima Signa Gallery and 7 Fine Arts. With great food and drinks provided by various restaurants in the neighborhood, WeHo is perfect for immersing oneself in the art and a wonderful place to hang out with friends on a rest day.

Six large-scale murals were displayed one next to the other on the building at the intersection of Martin-Chestnut, featuring the work of artists like Joe Geis, Jeremiah Britton, Violet Hill, Xpayne, Meg Pie, Maggie Sanger and Brian Wooden. The murals were created during the four days leading up to the kick-off of Artville. One of these murals, Violet Hill’s “In the Flowers,”  used a vibrant and lively palette to depict flowers that seem to be blooming under the light of the setting sun.  Hill explained the idea behind this painting on the label next to the work. 

“‘In the Flowers’ was created as a personal reminder to put down roots, bloom where I’m planted, and bask in the immense beauty that comes with the passing of seasons,” Hill wrote.

Next to the Artville Walls was another art display, the American Artisan Festival. Originally located in Centennial Park, this renowned art showcase for fine art and craft moved to Wedgewood Houston this year.  It showcased the work of 100 exceptional artists specializing in fine art,  furniture and mixed-media creations. People wandered into the rows of stalls where artists were showing and selling their art, observing pottery in the making, chatting with the artists about their pieces and listening to music. 

Down the street, Nashville Warehouse Company hosted the Community Art Show. It featured carefully chosen pieces crafted by contemporary artists from the area along with a handpicked assortment from visiting contemporary art galleries, including Artbeat, Elephant Gallery and The Forge. In the evening, the Warehouse hosted Artville Talks with several artists talking about different topics. One talk by artist Derrick Adams discussed his work centered around  Black culture in America. Adams talked about his art philosophy and life story, connecting to his works shown in the current exhibition “Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary American Collage in the Frist Art Museum.” In his works, Adams depicted ordinary moments in life that he wanted to offer an alternative way to look at black culture. 

“I’m hoping, that difference does not mean superior or inferior. It means different. And I think what I’m trying to represent something that is not different for me, is normal, but I’m trying to normalize the idea of different,” Adams said in an interview.

In addition to these events, Artville hosted the Andee Rudloff and Publix Super Markets, which led live painting for the attendees. The festival also hosted live music each night. Artville Afterdark offered people a series of nighttime events. With the multi-faceted artistic show, Artville brought people together and gave Nashville a party that both art lovers and those who may not have a strong affinity for art could enjoy. 

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