Sunday, November 8, 2009

Crawling Art

The first Saturday of every month, the Nashville Art Community has an Art Crawl – galleries host receptions and stay open until 9. Anyone familiar with an art scene knows that receptions mean free snacks and wine aplenty. Nashville has a free shuttle bus to transport happy art lovers from one cluster of galleries to the next, so it’s a good time.

Last night, Boyfriend, Junior and I headed into NashVegas from C-Ville for a serving of art. We started at the Tennessee Art League, where my friend Terri is the president, and where they have been hosting some great shows lately. Last night was the opening for “Women” with the works of my friends Mitzi and Malcolm, both masters of models, composition and darkroom processing. The third floor gallery exhibit at the TAL was by patients in a mental health program. Many had never made art before, and have now discovered a creative outlet for self-expression. I love stories like that.

We hopped on the Art Crawl shuttle bus to head over to The Arcade galleries, which is usually a five minute ride. Heck, you can walk there in about the same amount of time, but who is that ambitious? (Especially in three inch heels…) The bus can be fun – I have seen complete strangers admiring each other’s art purchases and offering suggestions on shows that must be seen along the route and places to go later. It’s a little weird – people act like best friends while on the bus, but as soon as it arrives at the destination, they scatter like autumn leaves in the wind without another word to each other. Maybe it’s an effect of all the free wine.

Last night, however, we were on some sort of alternate universe bizarre shuttle ride. Instead of the usual quick right turn from the TAL, around a few blocks and bam, arriving at The Arcade, this driver took us up to the traffic light for a left turn leading to an extended tour of some desolate looking parts of town. The ride took about a half hour, and when we passed the same landmarks a couple times it felt like some crazy New York City cab ride. I started to wonder if some nut case had hijacked the bus, done off with the real driver, and was randomly picking up people to fill the bus, drive us to a remote location and rob us all. I kept this suspicion to myself – no point causing a panic. Besides, I read too many murder mysteries as a kid, and have watched a few too many crime dramas as an adult, so my imagination tends to stray down some dangerous alleys. It’s part of my dark charm.

When we finally arrived at The Arcade, it was, to use my Dad’s colorful words, “packed asshole to belly button.” Yeah, it was crowded. (And do you see where I get it from?) A new arts and crafts feature started in the central area on the lower level, plus all the galleries upstairs were open. Several artist friends were exhibiting – Monica and Greg! Melody and Ken! – geez, I know a lot of married couple artists. The amazing Miranda has her own rocking gallery (MIR Gallery). It felt like half of Clarksville was in attendance as a patron or an exhibitor, and I am thrilled we’re taking over the town. Clarksville – it’s not just soldiers and rednecks anymore – and our artists are crawling all over the place.

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