Is there a more important or engaging art lecture series in Nashville than the Frist Center's Artist's Forum talks? It's one of the only local events of its kind that actually creates the “dialog” within the art community that all such events claim as their purpose.
Other institutions do a great job putting on bigger productions with bigger names, but it's precisely the Forum's intimacy that makes it so impactful. Not only is the Frist's Rechter Room a comfy space that's easy to hear and see speakers in, the speakers themselves are mostly local artists — our neighbors — illuminating the processes behind their work and discussing it the way you and the guy next door might check in about baseball scores or the best grass seed, chatting over the backyard fence.
One of the forum's artists actually works in a backyard printshop. Sawtooth Printhouse's Chris Cheney recently teamed-up with performance artist and puppeteer Laura Wallace, graphic artist Michael Lapinski, and a number of area young people for the Frist's teen community art project Stop. Take Notice! The project's participants included teens from Martha O’Bryan Center's Top Floor program, Nashville Public Library’s Main branch Teen Center, the Oasis Center's International Teen Outreach Program and the YMCA Latino Achievers.
These teens explored the Frist's fall 2012 exhibition Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video — they even got a chance to speak with Weems herself to discuss how the artist addresses questions of race, gender and identity. Then, it was the kids' turn to work with the Cheney, Wallace and Lapinski on four separate, interactive art installations that were displayed at each community partner organization. The version of Stop. Take Notice! that is currently on display at the Frist's Conte Community Art Gallery features four re-interpretations of the original pieces by Cheney, Wallace and Lapinski.
Cheney and Wallace will be on hand for next week's talk, which may range from choosing materials to the pros and cons of working with kids. Also look for them to touch on how a community making together might make for a better community.
6:30 p.m. May 16 at The Frist's Rechter Room