Frist Art Museum / 919 Broadway August 12, 2022 - December 31, 2022

The Frist Art Museum presents Elise Kendrick: Salon Noir, a micro-exhibition celebrating the beauty of African American women, their unique hairstyles, and the Black salon experience through the works of Nashville artist Elise Kendrick. On view at the museum from August 12 through December 31, 2022, the exhibition offers an immersive experience within a common, accessible space.

Installed in the elevator just inside the museum’s Ninth Avenue entrance adjacent to the Grand Lobby, Salon Noir takes advantage of a never-before utilized location to display art at the Frist. The elevator’s interior walls will feature vinyl prints derived from five of Kendrick’s portraits. Guests entering the space will find themselves immersed in depictions of Black hairstyles and haircare products.

Under the direction of student curator Jonathan Diggs, Salon Noir is the first micro-exhibition conceived through Project Uplift, an internship designed to offer a student or recent graduate from a historically Black college or university in Nashville an opportunity to curate, design, market, and develop a program for a micro-exhibition featuring a local artist of color.

Kendrick hopes that her work will start conversations about common perceptions and misconceptions surrounding Black hair: “With this series, my intent is to allow my subjects to feel seen, to take up space, and to show that women of color are not monolithic.” Diggs adds, “Hairstyles and hair salons hold a significant place within Black culture. Salon Noir showcases the various ways that Black women maintain their hair with pride and elegance.”

The Project Uplift internship was conceived to distill the curatorial process into a short period of time so students can gain exposure to all aspects of exhibition planning. While typical museum exhibitions may take years of planning, a Project Uplift micro-exhibition is condensed into three months. “Working with all of the departments at the Frist and receiving their guidance and advice along the way has given me a great appreciation for the work of museum professionals,” says Diggs. “As a graphic designer I see how important communication is when translating the curator’s ideas to an actual exhibition. Fortunately, I have been able to do both with this internship. Project Uplift truly has reshaped my thought process for the better around design and teamwork.”


1. Elise Kendrick. April, 2021. Mixed media; 20 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist. © Elise Kendrick

2. Elise Kendrick. Vii, 2021. Acrylic on canvas; 20 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist. © Elise Kendrick