A Nashville gallery has challenged artists to show their love for the city, with one catch. The artwork that debuts this weekend cannot depict the downtown skyline.
In the call for entries, Gallery Luperca asks the question: What does art about Nashville look like if it doesn’t include the twin spires of the “Batman building?”
As co-owner Sara Lederach explains, she means no disrespect, but hungers for other icons.
“I’m tired of … all of the work about Nashville seems to be either referencing the skyline — which has to have the Batman building in it,” she said. "Or it’s the silhouette of a man wearing a cowboy hat, playing a guitar.”
Entries came slowly at first — the gallery is quite new — but the selected works show areas like the Gulch, Melrose, and Germantown.
“It seems like a big strength of the city is our diversity and our focus on relationships and community, and I thought that if we would put out this call for entries, that we might be able to get a picture of how other people view the city,” Lederach said.
There are depictions of construction cranes — in embroidery; photos by high school students; and a folk art portrait of a legendary ghost and his two poodles haunting Printer’s Alley.
These are the diverse viewpoints that co-owner Katie Wolf wanted.
“I don’t think it’s anything really negative toward the skyline — again, we’re not super crazy about it — but it’s more just saying, ‘Look at everything else this city has to offer and let’s focus on that,’ ” Wolf said.
The gallery owners guess that tourists or new transplants may unite over the easy-to-capture skyline. But they hold out hope for art that celebrates other eclectic pockets.
The show opens Saturday in conjunction with the East Side Art Stumble and closes Jan. 30. The gallery is otherwise open from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fridays.