Frist Center for the Visual Arts

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Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Frist Center Nashville TN USA.JPG
Nashville's Art-Deco style Frist Center was originally the city's main post office building
Established 2001
Location 919 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203 (United States)
Type Art Center, Art museum [1]
Director Susan H. Edwards[2]
Website Frist Center for the Visual Arts
US Post Office
Frist Center for the Visual Arts is located in Tennessee
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Frist Center for the Visual Arts is located in USA
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Location 901 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee
Coordinates 36°9′28″N 86°47′2″W / 36.15778°N 86.78389°W / 36.15778; -86.78389Coordinates: 36°9′28″N 86°47′2″W / 36.15778°N 86.78389°W / 36.15778; -86.78389
Area 2.5 acres (1.0 ha)
Built 1932
Architect Marr & Holman
Architectural style Moderne, Art Deco
MPS Marr and Holman Buildings in Downtown Nashville TR (AD)
NRHP Reference # 84000580[3]
Added to NRHP November 15, 1984

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is an art museum in Nashville, Tennessee, housed in the city's historic U.S. Post Office building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The museum is housed in a white marble building that was built in the 1930s to serve as Nashville's main post office. Designed by Marr & Holman Architects, it was built in 1933-34. Its location near Union Station was convenient for mail distribution, since most mail at that time was moved by train.[4]

By the 1980s, downtown was no longer a good location for postal distribution. When a new main post office was built near the airport in 1986, the historic old facility became a downtown branch using only a small portion of one floor.[4]

In the early 1990s Thomas F. Frist, Jr., and his family, through the charitable Frist Foundation, identified the post office building as a good location for a proposed downtown art museum. The Foundation implemented a public-private venture between the foundation, the U.S. Postal Service, and the city of Nashville. In 1999 the City of Nashville acquired the building from the U.S. Postal Service for the purpose of creating the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, paying $4.4 million. The city contributed $15 million toward renovation of the building, and the Frist Foundation and Frist family contributed $25 million for the renovation and to start an endowment for the art museum. The city owns the building, but granted the Frist Center a 99-year lease for $1 per year. A renovated post office branch was opened in the basement in 1999.[4]

The museum opened in April 2001. The art center consists of approximately 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2) of gallery space, used to present visual art from local, state and regional artists, as well as major U.S. and international exhibitions.[1]


As a non-collecting museum, the Frist Center does not have a permanent collection; rather, the museum focuses on creating exhibitions as well as securing traveling exhibitions from around the country and the world.

Ceramist Sylvia Hyman held a major exhibition at the Frist Center in 2007.[5]

September 21, 2012 - January 13, 2013: Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video is the artist's first retrospective. Brian Alfred: It's Already the End of the World accompanies this exhibit in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery.

October 19, 2012 to February 10, 2013: German Expressionism from the Detroit Institute of Arts shows paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Franz Marc from the Detroit Institute of Arts.[6]

February 28, 2014 to June 8, 2014: Steve Mumford’s War Journals, 2003–2013 were on display.[7]

September 26, 2014 to January 4, 2015: Kandinsky: A Retrospective

September 26, 2014 to January 4, 2015: Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible

October 21, 2014 to January 25, 2015: Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy


  1. ^ a b "Frist Center for the Visual Arts: About". ARTINFO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  2. ^ Frist Center: From the Director
  3. ^ Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ a b c Christine Kreyling; Sudip Bose; Eric Wills; Jonathan Marx; Dwight Young. "Nashville: Sites and Sounds". Preservation. National Trust for Historic Preservation. 
  5. ^ Myers, Jim (2012-12-24). "Sylvia Hyman, renowned ceramic artist, dies at age 95". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  6. ^ German Expressionism at the Frist, Nashville Arts Magazine, 17 October 2012
  7. ^

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