Life on the tracks behind Cummins Station is colorful these days, as nostalgia and creativity turn old passenger rail cars into a great opportunity for aspiring artists.
Zach Liff, owner of Cummins Station, started the community art program four years ago to give aspiring artists a free place to work.
"We could do something that had a little more soul to it. The opportunity with these cars in this area could be something a little less tangible, like some more rent, and something a little more tangible," Liff said.
Nina Mayer is the newest artist in residence.
"I hope that it will be a good way to, kind of, enter the arts community in Nashville," she said. "I like to come and work here at night. And to have that kind of repetitive hum of the cars coming by every couple of hours is really cool."
The sights and sounds of trains rolling down nearby tracks, cars in downtown and the lunchtime crowd at Cummins Station spark that creativity within the artist while working inside an old rail car.
"I've definitely kind of wondered about the people that rode on this train at some point," artist Jared Freihoefer said.
Freihoefer got a rail car studio after an impressive display on the student art wall inside the Cummins Station building three years ago.
The two artists chosen each year for residence in the studios work toward a big break gallery show in the last two cars.
"They get to sell their work if they want, and they get to keep all of the proceeds. We provide a budget, maybe a meager budget, but a budget to put on a show. And we are just trying to help them make the next step," Liff said.
"The most important thing it did for me is just to realize it is not just some fantasy like being a rock star, you know. To be an artist and to make money is actually something that is possible to do," Freihoefer said.
Some of the artists' masterpieces are showcased throughout the Cummins Station building to bring creativity to the workplace. Art students can apply for the artist in residence program by visiting http://www.cumminsstation.com/community-arts/index.html.
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