The Browsing Room Gallery (Downtown Presbyterian Church) / 154 5th Ave. N September 2, 2023 - October 21, 2023

Greg Pond, Lain York, Beth Gilmore, Michael McBride, Adrienne Outlaw, Dane Carder, Janet Decker Yanez

The Browsing Room presents The Key Show, a group exhibition co-curated by Lain York and Janet Decker Yanez, keyholders of former studios/artist-run spaces in the then defunct May Hosiery Mill aka The Chestnut.

A little backstory for newcomers and an update for those that have been watching this play out. The May Hosiery Mill’s patented tube socks made it to the moon on astronauts by the hands of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany who were provided work visas by the mill’s owners. That was well before it became a run-down factory complex half occupied by diverse, artist populations and small businesses. Currently, under the new (much needed) management/developers, the building has become a private, members club and hotel in the recently minted Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood of Nashville, TN.

And just like that we quite literally now have SoHo in We/Ho. “If this story is a familiar one, it is somewhat new to Nashville. Many American neighborhoods since the 1970s have witnessed a pattern of gentrification on the heels of a critical mass of artist occupants. Sometimes called “the SoHo phenomenon” – New York City’s “South of Houston” district was perhaps the first case in the postindustrial era– Nashville’s own WeHo (Houston Street represents the northern border here too) holds more than some family resemblance” wrote Samuel Shaw, in a special report called Assembling Nashville: Anchors and Art District Sustainability, a few years before the evidenced major transformation of the neighborhood.

So for now, both the new and the old still co-exist in the neighborhood because artists and associations still work to preserve the culture and history of a place and space. This exhibition attempts to remember these vital influences, and garner support from the latest wave of keyholders that are continuing to make our city an international destination and foster more mutually beneficial partnerships with the city and area business communities for our future.

About the Exhibit: At essence this exhibition is a reconnecting of just some of the studio artists and founders of alternative art galleries from a building complex knitted in Nashville’s history of creating, and the tale of a key with its inherent inclusivity and exclusivity aspects. The works in this exhibit are as varied and assorted as the artists are and range from the traditional oil painted muse to post-modern approaches to paint, photography, reuse and video.

Image: Purple Ruins, Lain York