Regional Update: Tennessee

The Crappy Magic Experience, 2018. Participants are invited to interact with unusual objects. Photo Credit: Robert Bagwell.

By Mineral House Media


Mineral House Media’s Digital Residency Exhibition, 2018. Artists shown: Dutch (Front), Sue Fox, Ashley Hamilton, Eleanor Epstein (From Left to Right). Photo Credit: Mineral House Media.


Today we live in a global village with technology at our fingertips, and it appears that our access to contemporary art is only accelerating. It’s hard to deny the abundance of opportunity that this momentum opens up for Tennessee artists in 2019 and beyond. So, when Mineral House Media was asked, “What is happening with the art scene in Tennessee?” we immediately sought to pinpoint what exactly is shifting in our landscape and where the most fertile ground between digital and physical growth lies.


The Crappy Magic Experience, 2018. Participants are invited to interact with unusual objects. Photo Credit: Robert Bagwell.


We find that artists across the South are stepping out of their traditional solitary practices and exploring the gaps between online media platforms and traditional gallery space. They are creating their own opportunities to merge unique voices into projects that aim to enrich the community with grit and passion. DIY curatorial collectives and interactive projects are pushing a conversation that centers around collaboration and invites viewers to be part of the creative experience. One such project, recently launched in Nashville, is The Crappy Magic Experience, which fuses filmmaking with object-based play in a uniquely purposeful “dialogue around how value is assigned” to the experience of contemporary art. Another exciting project, The Otherworld Encounter, creates a delightful and transformative space, inviting viewers to enter into a digital dream alongside friends and family. When we draw communities out of their comfort zones and ask them to interact and move with art, we start to break ground on communication, conversation, and creative discourse.


Where many see disparity between digital connectivity and the real world, others see an opportunity to build bridges and pipelines. Locate Arts is established in Tennessee as the most useful tool for navigating current and future exhibitions by locale, providing a map for artists, collectors, and art lovers alike. By connecting people, galleries, and unique projects, we can navigate our artistic resources with ease.


When observing a landscape, we are drawn to its landmarks. The most notable creative markers are often galleries both new and established, which keep a steady finger on the pulse of contemporary conversation and provide a meeting place for artists and the community. In Knoxville, we are excited about the newly established Bad Water Gallery, and always recommend keeping Fluorescent Gallery’s exhibitions in your calendar. Another Knoxville gem to catch is C for Courtside. In Chattanooga, we are continually impressed by the work coming from Versa Gallery, which resides in an old community church and is run by a collective of artists and curators. Stoveworks of Chattanooga, many of its driving elements already underway, is an anticipated force to be reckoned with upon its completion. In Nashville, we are staying tuned for the new museum of contemporary art, MOCAN.


Otherworld Encounter, 2019. Photo Credit: Sharyn Bachelda.


Author Cutline: Claire Bloomfield, Brianna Bass, and Jayme Hartness of Mineral House.