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Scene arts writer David C. Maddox
In 2005, the Ruby Green Contemporary Arts Center
, a non-profit arts space on 5th Avenue South, received a major grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation. This was a huge endorsement of their programs by the one of the country's leading funders of innovative visual arts organizations.
It could have been a launching point for Ruby Green to go to the proverbial next level, but in retrospect it looks like it was a high water mark. The gallery has struggled to maintain and build its base of financial support. After going dark for a few months, mounting two shows last fall, and then converting to artist studio space, Ruby Green is now closed.
Warhol Foundation included RG in its Warhol Initiative program because of the superb, sophisticated exhibits they regularly put on. Local artists had a chance to show what they could do--exhibits featuring Andrew Kaufman, Sisavanh and Jarrod Houghton, Erin Anfinson, and Julie Roberts come to mind--and director Chris Campbell capitalized on great ties to Atlanta (Leslie Kneisel, Donte' K. Hayes) and Southern California (Mery Lynn McCorkle), among other hot spots.
Plus artists just came to them. Campbell has the eye and curatorial sophistication to know good stuff when she sees it. During various periods the space hosted poetry readings and experimental music performances, and they developed a nice capacity to present video--it all extended the importance of the venue.
Ruby Green is said to be looking for new space--a new lease and a new lease on life--and Nashville is probably looking for a new Ruby Green. With luck, maybe they can be one and the same.