Art attack 

For at least the next month, starting Saturday, Nashville will be the site of an uprising — by tiny theater groups, by enormous public institutions, by actors and musicians on street corners, by artists of every scale, medium and discipline. Or at least that's what the Metro Arts Commission envisions for Artober Nashville, the citywide celebration of arts and culture offering events every day through the month of October.

The first day, Saturday, offers a glimpse of the scope of the monthlong festival, co-sponsored by the Scene and its parent company SouthComm. Among the events are the Nashville Symphony's Regions Free Music Day, with free concerts all day inside and outside the Schermerhorn Symphony Center ranging from classical to jazz and bluegrass; The Belcourt's 11 a.m. screening of the Yves Saint Laurent documentary L'Amour Fou, with brunch and mimosas as part of its second annual nD Festival; the Sideshow Fringe Festival at Belmont; an architecture tour of the Frist Center; the Dance Theatre of Tennessee's production of Act 2 of Swan Lake, in tribute to assistant artistic director Elaine Thomas; and the high-energy touring musical Blast! at TPAC, to name just a few.

Now multiply that times 31, and that's the level of creative energy Metro Arts Commission executive director Jennifer Cole hopes to spotlight throughout what is (not coincidentally) National Arts & Humanities Month. When she took office in 2010, Cole says, she polled some 30 representatives of arts organizations around Nashville to assess the city's needs. One thing they wanted, she says, was a way to increase across-the-board recognition of the city's cultural offerings, and to show how the arts matter as a part of daily life — at a time when arts funding is getting slashed.

But it doesn't take money to create or be creative — something Artober means to encourage through street theater, pop-up performances, flash mobs and other participatory spectacles throughout the month. Nashville's approach to the arts has sometimes been "a little buttoned up," Cole says — so this month, "instead of going to the theater, the theater comes to you."

Watch the daily schedule at for a full list of events, show times and ticket information. And check the Scene's arts coverage, Critics' Picks and blogs at for more details throughout October.


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