The Village Art Walk
~story and photos by Boris Ladwig
On a recent Friday in Nashville, a busker strummed his guitar and sang Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” as artists in the Village Green Building around the corner painted a landscape and demonstrated a spinning wheel.
The Fourth Friday Art Walk, an all-volunteer program that aims to entice new and repeat visitors to peruse local galleries and shops, will have two more dates this year, Sept. 24 and Oct. 22. The self-guided walks, from 4 to 7 p.m., offer visitors an opportunity to browse an ever-changing palette of paintings, photos, sculptures, and other creative expressions of Brown County artists. Participating galleries offer tourists early artist masterpieces and contemporary works.
The walks feature music, live art demonstrations, and a scavenger hunt that prompts participants to search for a hidden treasure and rewards successful hunters with a gift.
On a recent Friday, Carole Ricketts-Corey demonstrated a spinning wheel in the B3 Gallery, while only a few feet away Megan Russell was painting a landscape.
Down street, at the Brown County Art Guild, guests wandered among paintings that emphasized Brown County’s natural beauty.
Visitors also can get art-related lessons, such as origami making or glass blowing.
“There’s just all kinds of little things you can do to enhance your experience,” said Melanie Voland, president of the Nashville Arts and Entertainment Commission.
The walks also elicit a sense of camaraderie among the artists, bring more tourists to Nashville, and help the artists sell more of their works, she said.
Some local enthusiasts participate in the walk every time. Others drop by occasionally. The walks have no official starting point. People can start wherever they like.
“There’s something for everyone,” Voland said.
Roberta Chirko, gallery manager at Brown County Art Guild, said the number of walk-related visitors varies with the seasons, with fall typically generating the biggest groups, coinciding with the height of tourist season. The guild usually closes at 5 p.m., but for the Art Walks stays open until 7.
Chirko said the later hours tend to draw a different crowd and include more people on dates or couples taking their time to stroll through the Guild’s two floors.
“It’s a totally different vibe from the daytime,” she said.
The walks had to be canceled during part of 2020 because of the pandemic, and this year, health concerns have forced organizers to alter the format somewhat and skip some of the usual enticements, such as wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres.
However, Voland said participating galleries want to make sure the Art Walk tradition continues.