There are specific reasons for our special affinity for this time of year:
1) We established The Arts Company with the opening of the first Annual Holiday Arts Market in December 1996. Ever since, we have been on the lookout for really neat art and books and special events we could muster to match the interests of all folks who continue to come downtown Nashville. Therefore, this year marks our 14th birthday on December 4, and we want to have friends here to help us celebrate what's happened to the evolving Fifth Avenue of the Arts over these last 14 years.
2) So it's our birthday and it's one of our most important annual challenges: how do we select some of the neat things that we know our guests and friends will be interested in including in their holiday celebrations?
We say with some measure of modesty that we think we have nailed it this year. It's a little beyond spunky. It's into overflowing with fresh and original art and art gifts. We have commissioned some special gifts and art, and our focus is on the Nashville traditions that we most love. If you are one of our customers reading this, you know that we enjoy showing images of Nashville and new ways of thinking about what we are all about in Nashville.
We know that our customers share an interest in specific artists--Brother Mel for sure. But also April Street, Bill Starke, David Swanagin, Charles Keiger, Ed Rode, Bob Schatz, John Nikolai classics, Ed Clark photographs and those of his legendary colleagues through the LIFE Gallery Collection of Photography, Charles Kieger, Pam Moxley, Jim Hubbman, Ansel Adams' protege Robert Kolbrener...plus many more. So some of all of these will be present in our Upstairs Archives.
But we have also introduced a lot of new artists this year--from Tony Breuer to Judy Nebhut; from Denise Stewart-Sanabria and her donut paintings and plywood people to Chris Beck and Deborah Wait's mosaics. We have shown new photography and techniques, new and unexpected outsider artists working on tarpaper or from piles of scrap metal.
For the holidays, we have commissioned some Nashville paintings from Charlie Buckley and have some new tarpaper paintings by Tres Taylor, and a few pieces of metal sculpture by Chris Beck--not to mention some new Nashville images by Kimiko. We have also added a Spirit of Nashville boutique to showcase Joel Anderson's popular Nashville posters.
But preemo as always, Brother Mel always surprises us with new materials and new ideas. This holiday is no exception. We have his version of Christmas trees--from utensils to stainless and glass sculpture made to hold wine bottles, as well as new paintings and Christmas trees as wall sculpture. You will know when you walk in the door that Brother Mel's statement about his work is part of what our holidays are about: "Bringing beauty to space to lift up spirits."
We are waiting with great anticipation to have you come see us during the holidays. We are working with our gallery colleagues and neighbors to add special Champagne Saturdays to the holidays this year. More information on that is coming soon.
Oops! I almost forgot. Of course, we have loads of neat pop-up books for adults and children, and selected art books that are really worth taking a look at.