Cheekwood in Nashville is an art museum and botanical garden located on the historic, 55-acre Cheek estate. Originally the home of Leslie and Mable Cheek, the estate is a great example of the American Country Place Era. In 1960, Cheekwood was converted into a museum, and has since showcased stunning gardens, world-class art exhibitions, and a historic estate. Free tours of the art museum, temporary exhibits, and gardens are offered to the public on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Fine Art Permanent Collection at Cheekwood features sculptures, photographs, drawings, prints, and paintings, with a focus on American art created from 1910 to 1970. There is a significant amount of artwork by a group of American artists known as "The Eight" from the early twentieth century. These artists created their own artistic society that aimed to portray what life was like at the turn of the century. These portrayals often presented harsh renderings of societal segregation and urban industrialization. "The Eight" included William Glackens, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Arthur B. Davies, John Sloan, Ernest Lawson, Everett Shinn, and Robert Henri. Other notable artists featured in Cheekwood's collection include Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, David Hockney, Larry Rivers, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jamie Wyeth.
Cheekwood's Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail features a contemporary sculpture set within a woodland setting, not too commonly seen museum in America. The trail is about one mile in length, and displays fifteen sculptures by artists ranging from regional to international. Several of these sculptures were commissioned specifically for their location to emphasize the Cheekwood landscape's beauty. The Sculpture Trail can be found behind the Frist Learning Center.
One of Cheekwood's most beloved gardens is the Howe Garden. Visitors can see a state-of-the-art rain garden, the original Wildings garden, an endangered stinking cedar, and Mrs. Howe's Thatched Toolhouse. The Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden celebrates the life Sigourney Cheek. Offering visitors with a space for inspiration and solace, the garden features stunning views of the Tennessee hills. The garden's amphitheater setting was designed to host book and poetry readings for small groups. Designed in the 1920's the gardens surrounding the Georgian-style Cheekwood mansion contain extensive plantings of boxwood. The original Martin Boxwood Gardens feature a stone grotto, fountains, pools, and a wooded stream.
The Japanese garden at Cheekwood, Shomu-en or Pine-Mist garden, is a place of meditation and quiet. The gate is always open as a welcoming sign, with the gate's lantern a symbol of enlightenment. Shomu-en is divided into four parts. The crooked path, or roji, slows visitors' progress and fosters observation. Past another gate is a dark bamboo forest, inviting guests to turn their mind inward. Passing through the third gate leads to a grassy courtyard with maples, gingkos, and a carved basin. Up the wide steps, inside a pavilion, is a large body of water, symbolized by raked gravel. Surrounded by stunted pines, the water contains islands of granite. A stream flowing down the mountainside completes the peaceful scene.
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville, Tennessee, Phone: 615-356-8000
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