Hold Onto Your Cowboy Hats! A New Nashville Art Fair Will Merge Country Music and Contemporary Art

Entrepreneur Matthew Eck aims to launch the event next October.

Nashville skyline. Courtesy of Peter Miller via Flickr.

After co-founding the X Contemporary fair in Miami and SELECT in New York, entrepreneur Matthew Eck is tackling fresh territory with the debut of Art Nashville next fall, the first-ever annual international art fair for the country music capital of the world.

“Nashville is totally a collaborative city and I’m looking forward to forging new relationships with local galleries, local officials, art enthusiasts, and local businesses,” Eck told artnet News.

He is aiming to include just over 60 exhibitors and says it will be a 50/50 mix of US and international galleries, “but definitely a flavor of regional galleries” as well. Much as he did with X Contemporary in 2015, the new fair will appear in a bespoke tent on a roughly 40,000-square-foot pavilion, situated downtown near Broadway, Avenue of the Arts, and Music Row.

Exact dates are still being finalized but Eck is aiming for mid-October 2018, and the application process for galleries will open in February.

Art Nashville founder Matthew Eck.

Art Nashville founder Matthew Eck.


Eck has recently developed an affinity for Nashville and its surrounding areas, including East Nashville and Wedgewood/Houston, which have become hubs of artistic activity. “Music and art are universal languages and I’m looking forward to creating a unique exhibition with flavors of music, as well as musicians who are also fine artists.”

In the end he hopes that Art Nashville will showcase both Nashville the city and Nashville the creative center, and to “highlight its ascension as a blossoming center of arts and culture.”

Eck is currently working with Karyn Mannix, owner of The Mannix Studio of Art in East Hampton, who serves as exhibitor sales manager, and with Pierre Lamoureux and Fogo Labs, to oversee the music, entertainment, and production at the fair. Nancy Bowman, a business development and communications expert is handling sponsorship and business engagement.

Eck says he’s looking forward to forging a new art week and says there is great demand for a fine art event such as this. “Nashville is a driving city and a major cultural resource for visitors from all over.” Plus, he added “Nashville’s famous hot chicken actually is really hot.”

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