Bulger's Beat: Project to transform Nashville into arts center - WSMV Channel 4

Bulger's Beat: Project to transform Nashville into arts center

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Nashville has been recognized as the new "it" city by The New York Times, and its many attributes include job opportunities, music and terrific restaurants.

But there are many other highlights, such as the terrific exhibits at Nashville's big museums like the Frist Center, Cheekwood and Tennessee State Museum.

Lesser known for now, Fifth Avenue downtown is turning into the Avenue of the Arts because of hard work and dedication by Anne Brown and her group, The Arts Company.

"When I moved in here, there were four plugs and two lights on the floor - nothing else. That was it," Brown said.

Brown brought as much electricity to her gallery as NES eventually would. For 16 years, The Arts Company's gallery has been a free opportunity for anyone to walk in, look around - even sit down, unheard of at most galleries - and see if something hanging catches your eye.

"We think the whole idea of art is to connect with people's interest and passions. They'll decide what they like. Our job is to figure out what we think is important and matters in our lives," Brown said.

She's not an artist in the traditional sense. She doesn't paint and doesn't snapshot. Her role is more like that of a theater director.

"I decide what's going on stage, decide how to stage it, invite the public in and see how they respond," she said.

The response can be seen more clearly outside, where the Avenue of the Arts will transform Fifth Avenue and Nashville as a whole into a major arts destination.

"Ten, 15 years from now they'll all be coming here, because there is so much creativity going on here just like in the music business," Brown said. "My job is to bring that to the surface."

As for how Brown, who is not an artist, decides what to hang on the gallery's walls and what to say no to, in her words she relies on an "educated instinct." Basically, she knows it when she sees it.

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