A list of the frequently asked questions about the Frist

  1. Will I enjoy the Frist Center if I don’t know anything about art?
  2. May children come to the Frist Center? Will they have fun?
  3. What is the etiquette at the museum? What can I take or NOT take into the galleries? May I take photographs?
  4. How do I become a Member of the Frist Center?
  5. How should I dress when I come?
  6. Where can I park?
  7. What about accessible, barrier-free entry for people in wheelchairs?
  8. May I take a stroller into the galleries?
  9. May I take pictures at the Frist Center?
  10. Why can’t I touch the art?
  11. What happens if I get too close to the art?
  12. Why can’t I take my drink into the galleries?
  13. Why must I check my backpack and large bags?
  14. How can I have my art exhibited at the Frist Center?
  15. How do I go about volunteering my time at the Frist Center?
  16. How do I become a docent?
  17. I am a musician, and I would like to play at the Frist Center? What should I do?
  18. How can I find out about free days at the Frist Center?
  19. I inherited a painting that’s been in the family for quite some time. Can you tell me what it is worth?
  20. How can I donate art to the Frist Center?
  21. I want to learn more about art. How should I go about it? Where should I go?
  22. How do I get art cleaned or repaired?

Will I enjoy the Frist if I don’t know anything about art?

Yes! The Frist Center for the Visual Arts was conceived as a place for people of all ages, all backgrounds, and all levels of knowledge to come to learn about art, and deepen their knowledge and understanding of art and the important role it plays in the world around us. From the clothes we wear, to the design of cars and the dishes on the dinner table, all you have to do is look around you to see how important art is to all of us. We hope that by coming to the Frist Center, people will view their world in new ways and gain a deeper understanding of how artistic expression and art (in all its forms) enrich our lives every day. At the Frist Center we invite everyone to connect with art. Each day, we have tours of the exhibitions led by our trained docents, and we often schedule gallery talks, lectures by curators and others, and ARTini discussions (a teeny bit about art) in the galleries. Many of these programs are free, and tours and activities that take place in the galleries are free with the purchase of a ticket to enter the galleries.

May children come to the Frist? Will they have fun?

Of course! We exist for visitors of all ages, but especially for children and families. Admission for visitors 18 and younger is FREE (even though visitors age 18 and younger are admitted free of charge, tickets are still required.)

The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery is a place that is a favorite for kids of all ages! ArtQuest is colorful and alive with art making and other activities designed to help our visitors make direct connections with exhibitions in the galleries. It’s a terrifically fun and exciting place for families to visit. The stations are designed to let everyone engage in learning at a pace and at a level comfortable for them. There are always staff members and volunteers on hand to answer questions and help. All the activities in ArtQuest are included in the price of admission. And, of course, admission to ArtQuest is always free for Frist Center members and children 18 and younger.

What is the etiquette at the museum? What can I take or NOT take into the galleries? May I take photographs?

Rules at the Frist Center and other museums are designed to make visiting an enjoyable experience, to protect visitors and protect the art. We ask your help. Here are a few simple things you should know about visiting:

  • Please keep a distance of at least 18 inches from the art. There is no touching of any art at any time.
  • Photography in the galleries varies depending on the exhibition. We must receive permission to take photographs from the lending institution for each exhibition. Some allow it, some don't. Since we do not own the art, we must abide by the constraints our lenders place on us. Photography is always allowed in the rest of the building (e.g. grand lobby).  
  • We ask that you do not talk on your cell phone in the galleries.
  • There is no food, drink, chewing gum, or tobacco products allowed in the galleries.
  • No large bags, umbrellas, or back packs of any type or size. All can be checked in our secure coat check area.
  • Do not carry children on shoulders.
  • Strollers are allowed in the galleries, but they must be pushed by adults at all times.
  • We ask that children under the age of 13 be supervised at all times.
  • Use only #2 pencils to sketch or take notes. No pens are allowed in the galleries. Children under 13 must be supervised at all times.

How do I become a Member of the Frist?

It’s so easy! When you are a Frist Center member, you come to exhibitions and the vast majority of activities and events (including our popular Frist Friday evenings) free of charge.

We have several categories of membership to suit your particular needs. There are memberships for single folks, couples, families, seniors, teachers, and students. We also have corporate memberships available so employees of a corporate Frist Center Member may come free of charge (with the possible exception of some special exhibitions). Information on membership is on the member page of this website. You can join online using your credit card or you may download a membership form to mail to us. Membership forms are also available on site at the Frist Center.

When you become a member, you receive special invitations to previews of all our exhibitions, attend exhibitions, and most events free of charge or at a significant discount, receive discounts in the fabulous Frist Center Gift Shop, as well as discounts on venue rentals, summer camp, spring break art activities, and more!

There may be some special exhibitions where the lenders require that every visitor be charged. But even in those cases, members will receive a significant discount.

How should I dress when I come?

We are not at all fancy. Come in your work clothes. Come in jeans and t-shirts. Please do not think you have to dress up! We are open until 9:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday evenings, so many people come straight from work. Just about any time you come, you will see people dressed all kinds of ways. By all means, dress comfortably!

Where can I park?

The lots owned by the Frist Center are located between the Frist Center and Demonbreun Street. Sometimes, with extremely popular exhibitions or on Frist Friday evenings, for example, our parking lots fill up quickly. If you park in one of the Frist Center lots, please bring your parking ticket with you inside the center. When you purchase your admission ticket, we will validate your parking ticket so you can park in the Frist Center lots at a discounted rate.

There also are parking meters along the east side of the building on 9th Avenue.

There is additional paid public parking in the Gateway parking lot (behind Union Station) accessible from 10th Avenue and surface parking in the lot across 10th Avenue from Cummins Station. We regret we are not able to validate parking tickets for Gateway or the Cummins Station lots. We can only validate parking tickets for the spaces we control.

For additional downtown parking, please consult the Downtown Interactive Parking Map.


What about accessible, barrier-free entry for people in wheelchairs?

There are accessible parking spaces in the eastern-most Frist Center lot nearest the federal courthouse as well as on 9th Avenue between the Frist Center and the federal courthouse. Barrier-free entry is available from the gate nearest the Frist Center loading dock (enter across the Turner Courtyard). Barrier-free entry is also available from the ramped Frist Center entrance facing 9th Avenue.

We have a limited number of wheelchairs on site available at no charge. They are located at the entrance nearest the Frist Center Café, near the entrance on 9th Avenue, and in the coat check area.

May I take a stroller into the galleries?

Yes, you may. There are also strollers available at no charge. Should you decide you need one for a toddler during your visit, they are available at the coat check counter. Adults must push strollers at all time.

Please note, neither food nor drink is allowed in the galleries, so things like cookies, crackers, bottles, and sippy cups must be concealed. If they are seen in the galleries, our security guards will approach you and ask that they be removed from the galleries. You may, of course, leave the galleries to offer your children snacks and then return at your leisure.

May I take pictures at the Frist?

Not in the galleries. We are not able to allow photography inside the galleries since the institutions and lenders who send the exhibitions prohibit photos, and we must abide by their wishes. You are, however, free to take pictures outside our historic building and in the Grand Lobby of the Frist Center.

You may also take non-flash photographs in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery.

If you bring a camera into the Ingram Gallery or the Upper-Level Galleries, the security guards will ask you to conceal it or check it at the free coat check area.

Why can’t I touch the art?

Art can be quite fragile, and we want to do everything in our power to protect the art entrusted us to show in our galleries. The oils on our hands can be tremendously harmful to delicate works of art. When you are viewing art in the galleries, we ask that you stand about an arm’s distance from the works on exhibition. If you get closer than that, our security guards may ask you to step back.

What happens if I get too close to the art?

If someone gets too close to the art, a member of our security staff will approach and request that the person step back a bit. If a security guard approaches you, please don’t think it’s personal! It’s not at all. It is our responsibility to make certain the works entrusted to us are kept safe, and we ask and appreciate your help in taking care of the art in our galleries.

Why can’t I take my drink into the galleries?

Like most museums, we are not able to allow food or drink inside the galleries. (This is not a rule just at the Frist Center.) You can imagine what might happen if someone sipping a soda were bumped and the drink spilled on a work of art. Also, because the owners and lenders prohibit food and drink in the galleries, this is another condition of being able to show some of the world’s greatest art at the Frist Center.

Why must I check my backpack and large bags?

Large bags can pose a security threat to the art, so we ask that large bags be checked in our staffed coat check area. It’s easy to forget you have a backpack on and there have been instances in other museums when sculpture has been damaged by a backpack. If a backpack is of manageable size, the security guards may ask you to carry it at your side to avoid any potential hazard to the artwork. If it is a large backpack, the security guards will ask that it be checked.

Coat check is a service we offer free of charge.

How can I have my art exhibited at the Frist?

The Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery is a space in the Frist Center that is dedicated to the work of living artists. The space is booked approximately five years in advance, and the Exhibitions Department entertains proposals throughout the year for exhibitions in that space. Review the CAP Gallery Submission Guidelines and send proposals to:

Exhibitions Department
CAP Gallery
919 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203

Due to the volume of proposals submitted, patience is requested.

How do I go about volunteering my time at the Frist?

We love our volunteers and are always looking for outgoing and enthusiastic people who enjoy interacting with our visitors. Volunteer information and training sessions take place throughout the year. Just contact our Volunteer Manager Ronny Criss at 615.744.3329 or email  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to find out more about helping us at the Frist Center. We have positions available in Visitor Services, the gift shop, in the galleries and offices, special events assisting with research projects, and a variety of “utility” positions that change with exhibitions, activities, and attendance levels. Volunteers park free on the days they volunteer and also receive discounts in the café and gift shop.

How do I become a docent?

Our docents are lifelong learners who lead our student and adult tours of exhibitions. Docents undergo a significant training period and then commit to ongoing education. Because we don’t have a permanent collection, and because our exhibitions change frequently, our docent corps is always in learning mode. To find out more about becoming a docent, please contact Ginny Soenksen at 615.744.3350 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I am a musician, and I would like to play at the Frist? What should I do?

The Frist Center’s popular Frist Friday events take place in the early summer. The bands chosen for these evenings are booked well in advance. They often relate to our exhibitions and are identified and booked by our staff.
Each Thursday and Friday evening (with the exception of Frist Fridays), we book live music at the Frist Center, either in the Grand Lobby or in the café. Generous musicians donate their time and talents to us, and we recognize that contribution as a tax deductible gift to the Frist Center. We invite our performers to sell their recordings directly to our visitors and offer complimentary parking and entry into the galleries for guests of Music in the Lobby musicians. The music we book ranges from jazz, classical, and folk to Latin, Renaissance, and ambient environmental electronica. Interested musicians should email bio information and a website link or MP3 files to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

How can I find out about free days at the Frist?

There are a number of days throughout the year when visitors of all ages can visit free to the Frist Center. These free days are not scheduled far in advance and can occur under a number of conditions. If a sponsor underwrites the cost of admission for a day, then we announce it to area media, on our website, to our Twitter followers and our Facebook fans and friends, in our weekly email newsletters, and with banner on the building. Also, there are a number of free family days that often take place in conjunction with specific exhibitions. When these days are confirmed, they are listed on the calendar page of the Frist Center website. The best way to find out about these and other events is to sign up for the Frist Center’s weekly email newsletter.

I inherited a painting that’s been in the family for quite some time. Can you tell me what it is worth?

Unfortunately, we are not able to perform appraisals of artwork, nor are we able to authenticate works. The best thing to do is to find a licensed appraiser. There is an excellent website, appraisers.org, that can get you started. You can also search other online sites, including ebay.com, askart.com, and artprice.com might also be good places to investigate. You might also want to contact auction houses like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, or Bonhams & Butterfields.

How can I donate art to the Frist?

While we appreciate the generosity of those wishing to give us art, the Frist Center does not have a permanent collection and, therefore, does not accept gifts of art, nor does the Frist Center purchase art.

I want to learn more about art. How should I go about it? Where should I go?

First, come to the Frist Center often! Our exhibitions change frequently, so every time you come, you are likely to see something different. Each of our exhibitions is accompanied by a variety of lectures, films, gallery talks, and ARTini conversations. Each program is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about art.

The Frist Center offers guided tours each day at 1:30 p.m., led by knowledgeable docents who have studied the exhibitions on view. These tours are free with gallery admission an excellent and enjoyable way to learn more about an exhibition.

Visit as many art museums as possible! Visit our sister art institutions in Nashville, and when you travel, be sure to check out our own local museums, universities, and local art galleries. The many exhibition openings around town offer wonderful opportunities to meet the artists whose works are featured.

If you are interested in learning about particular artists or periods, there are many online resources available these days: askart.com, artcyclopedia.com. The Metropolitan Nashville Public Library is an incredibly rich source of information.

How do I get art cleaned or repaired

You should speak with a conservator. While we are not able to recommend or endorse individual conservators, there are online resources you can consult as a start. The University of Delaware has an excellent list of online resources that cover many areas of conservation, including associations and organizations. Access the site by going here.


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