The Frist Center
Carl Collins shares his memories about working at Nashville's main post office building, now home to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
From Post Office to Nashville's Art Center
Photo by Petyon Hoge
I cannot express my delight upon discovering the Frist. First of all, I fell in love with the magnificent building. What an extraordinary re-use of a historic space! From our initial visit I was enthralled and profoundly impressed by your mission of bringing art of the highest quality from around the world to Nashville. I applaud your commitment to contemporary art. Your Martin ArtQuest Gallery is a fantastic resource for kids and families.
-- Frist Center Member
The vision of the Frist Center is to inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways.
The mission of the Frist Center is to present and originate high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community outreach activities.
The Frist Center opened in April 2001, and since that time has hosted a spectacular array of art from the region and from around the world.
Unlike any traditional museum you’ve ever visited, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts has become a magnet for Nashville’s rapidly expanding visual arts scene. With an exhibitions schedule that has new art flowing through the magnificent art deco building every 6 to 8 weeks, no matter how often you visit, there is always something new and exciting to see in the spacious galleries. See a list of current and upcoming exhibitions.
The Frist Center was conceived as a family-friendly place and one of the most popular locations in the center is the innovative Martin ArtQuest Gallery. It’s a colorful space alive with the sounds of learning through making art! ArtQuest activities abound for people of all ages. With 30 interactive stations, and the assistance of knowledgeable staff and volunteers, ArtQuest teaches through activity. Make a print, paint your own original watercolor, create your own colorful sculpture! It’s all there in ArtQuest, and it’s free with gallery admission for adults and always free for youth 18 and under.
While at the Frist Center, be sure to stop by the Frist Center’s beautiful Gift Shop. There, you’ll find a fabulous array of art prints, books, educational materials, art supplies, clothing, blown glass, pottery, and magnificent jewelry made by local and regional artisans. Items are available in a wide range of prices, so there’s always something to fit your budget. Because much of the merchandise relates to the Frist Center’s exhibitions, the array changes often. No wonder it’s often called the best gift shop in Nashville. Discounts for Frist Center members can make it a bargain hunter’s dream!
The popular Frist Center Café features a variety of delicious homemade soups, luscious desserts, salads, and sandwiches, making the Café a popular gathering place for brunch, lunch, afternoon snacks, and dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings when the Frist Center stays open until 9:00 p.m.
Frist Center memberships are available at a number of levels and are a great bargain. Membership is another great Frist Center value and includes unlimited visits, special Member-only invitations, gift shop discounts, discounted parking, guest passes, and special rates on venue rental, just to name a few benefits.
The Frist Center is open seven days a week. For information on adult or student tours, click here.