Exploring the Archive: Faces of North Nashville
by Brooke Hoffert
Located at the Cashville Etc. space in the 100 Taylor Arts collective building, The
Faces of North Nashville exhibition sets to explore and expand the importance of the
archive. Funded by The 37208 Fund and partnered with Fisk University, curators Carlos
Partee and Michael Ewing explore the rich history and community of North Nashville
through photographs dating from 1920 through 2018. This exhibition sets to showcase
the moments and memories through a mission of self-affirmation and telling the story of
the everyday life of the people of the past. The photographs create an articulation of the
heritage, history, and community, of North Nashville depicting the evolution of love, to
neighborhood grocery stores, and a historical fire department.
The question is asked, how do we activate archives? Archive activation can be
presented in many ways. The Faces of North Nashville starts by activating its archive by
separating it into three separate sections. The Family Archive, the Institutional Archive,
and the Artist Archive. The Family Archive hosts photographs that have been sourced
from families in North Nashville including co-curator Carlos Partee’s family. Located on
the wall to the left in the main section of the gallery holds five photographs that show the
history and evolution of the Dixon Family. Ranging from 1920-1963, the first photograph
depicts the older generation of the Dixon Family sitting in a car in 1920. The next three
photographs show us the evolution of love between a couple at that time just dating. In
the fifth photograph, a ring can be seen on Dixon’s finger while he holds their daughter
as a small child in 1963. The next nine photographs in this section depict The Lewis and
McLemore family and friends with photographs from 1960-1980.
The Institutional archive explores images that were sourced from the archives of
Fisk University and The John Hope and Aurelia Elizabeth Franklin Library Special
Collections located in North Nashville. This HBCU established in 1866 will digitize and
store the exhibition in the Fisk special collection for future generations to engage with.
Select photographs depict the Jefferson Street Bridge in 1981, “Fireman of Fire Hall
#11” located on 11th Avenue Jefferson Street serving from 1923-1966, “W.A Collier’s
Dry Cleaning & Tailoring Co” located on 1728 Jefferson Street, and the R&R Drive-in
Market taken in 1969.
Lastly, the Artist Archive explores photographs taken by Nashville photographers
Joseph Partick II, Andre M. Rowlett II, and Keep-3. Each photograph credits all of the
creatives who made the photographs happen from the creative director to the models.
The exhibition continues with objects of the past throughout the space. Cameras
from various decades are laid on the windowsill, suitcases laying in the corner
representing the people who have been displaced from their North Nashville home. Bits
of North Nashville history is included even in the framing of the photographs. The
framing was done by Nate Harris owner of Wood Cuts Gallery and Framing located at
1613 Jefferson Street. Wood Cuts opened their door over thirty years ago.
The exhibition will continue to educate and is set to travel to the Robert
Churchwell Elementary school and be on display there throughout the school year. This
exhibition allows the viewers to remember the creativity, accomplishments, joy, and
lives of the people who call North Nashville home.
Find more info at https://www.cashvilleetc.com/
More writing from Brooke at https://brookehaileyhoffert.wordpress.com/