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Mayor Celebrates 5th Avenue of the Arts With Canopy Lighting

June 1, 2013

First Saturday Art Crawl Kicks Off Nashville’s First Central Visual Arts District 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – To mark the completion of the 5th Avenue of the Arts streetscape improvement project, Mayor Karl Dean today ceremoniously “flipped the switch” to turn on the canopy lighting now draping over Fifth Avenue between Church and Union streets downtown during a celebration as part of an expanded First Saturday Art Crawl. 

“These streetscape improvements distinguish this area as the visual arts district of our city,” Mayor Dean said. “The project furthers the work of gallery owners in making Fifth Avenue a distinctive, arts-focused area of downtown. All of this enhances activity along the street, which I’m sure will lead to even more redevelopment and new businesses moving into the area.”

Before flipping on the lights, Mayor Dean recognized two individuals he described as the pioneers for the redevelopment of that area of downtown: Anne Brown of the Arts Company and Ron Gobbell of Gobbell Hayes Partners.

“Over the years, they have been joined by many other creative, entrepreneurial individuals, who altogether have made this a very special part of our urban environment,” Mayor Dean said.

Enhancements to the one-block Avenue of the Arts include an iconic light canopy that will make that block of downtown instantly recognizable. The LED light canopy includes eight light curtains hung from 30-foot light poles. They extend the entire width of the roadway from Union to Church Street.

Other features include new sidewalks and three landscaped sidewalk extensions that provide ample room for green space and improved crossing points for pedestrians. The sidewalk extension at Fifth and Church will accommodate outdoor dining. Additionally, individual street parking meters have been removed from the block, and a solar-powered pay station has been installed. 

As Nashville’s first central visual arts district, the Avenue of the Arts improves connectivity between the activity on Broadway and other cultural institutions, such as TPAC and the Tennessee State Museum. It is also an inviting attraction that is within walking distance to conventioneers and others attending meetings at the new Music City Center.

The unveiling took place during an expanded First Saturday Art Crawl and street party this evening. In addition to the art galleries on Fifth Avenue and in The Arcade being open to the public, the First Saturday Art Crawl included art demonstrations and live entertainment on the Nashville Downtown Partnership pop-up performance stages along the street. Activities included food trucks, puppets from the Nashville Public Library, the Hatch Show Print mobile, and displays by TPAC and the Tennessee State Museum, among others.

Earlier in the day, a celebration took place for the Music City Center art collection. Festivities included guided art tours, presentations by commissioned artists and a reception sponsored by Nashville Arts Magazine. The Music City Center art celebration is presented in partnership with Cheekwood Museum of Art, Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Tennessee State University Art Department.