Arts and Culture | Nashville Public Radio

Arts and Culture

Emily Siner / WPLN

The conference room inside a Veterans Affairs center in Nashville feels distinctly clinical: beige walls, gray carpet, creaky chairs.

But on a Monday afternoon in August, there's an energy that might be felt more often at an intimate Nashville club. Two dozen people, mostly women, are sitting on those creaky chairs in a circle. Some hold guitars. About half are veterans, and they're waiting to debut their very personal songs about a shared experience: sexual assault.

Nina Cardona / WPLN

Nashville’s annual month-long arts celebration, called Artober, is taking a turn toward the reflective this year. In addition to encouraging performance groups and galleries to program special events all month, the Metro Arts Commission has charged a handful of writers and musicians with creating pieces inspired by the city’s public art.

Racial Equity Nashville Arts
Metro Arts

Updated at 4 p.m. Wednesday: This story has been updated for clarity and to link to a revised version of the Metro Arts report.*

Racism and elitism have been found in some of Nashville’s arts and culture organizations. The issues came to light in a series of interviews about whether the arts are accessible to the city’s increasingly diverse population, and now Metro is responding.

Warren Westcott / Jim Reyland Productions

Most of the world ignored Johnny Ellis when he lived on the streets of Nashville, homeless and using crack. But four years after his death, a play about one of Ellis’ friendships is going on the road, hoping to help audiences around the U.S. see the human face of homelessness.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Leaders in the Nashville music industry, from songwriters to labels to commercial radio, couldn't agree this week on how to fix the problems with reimbursing artists for music — or even what the problems are.

Stix Nashville cedar
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville’s most expensive — and tallest — public art piece begins to rise Monday next to the Music City Center. While the project brought criticism on the Metro Arts Commission, officials say they’re now about to be vindicated.

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

Confused onlookers were common in downtown Nashville Friday morning, as parking spaces along 5th Avenue, Lower Broadway and in the Gulch were being sectioned off and transformed into temporary and tiny public parks.

Brian Latimer / WPLN

The big winner at Wednesday night’s Americana Music Awards was Sturgill Simpson, nabbing "Artist of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” But the show had to do without the Kentucky-born honky-tonk jammer.

Brian Latimer

Country music power couple Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks received stars on the city’s walk of fame on Thursday. The two also surprised outgoing mayor Karl Dean with his own star — a gesture neither the attendees, nor the mayor, knew was planned.

"Me and Miss Yearwood will remember this day forever because we went in with Elvis Presley mayor over here, right? The only name on this thing that is a rock star and can also balance a budget," he said.

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

It's not hard in Nashville to find people who love discovering new music. Those people surely covet the job of Ann Powers. She's a music critic for NPR — that's national public radio, not Nashville — who highlights talented bands for a very large audience. She talked to WPLN's Emily Siner in our live series Movers & Thinkers about the influence of her discoveries.