Centennial Art Center’s summer exhibit InterACTive invites exploration

Last updated on June 24th, 2019 at 11:58 am

Am I Blue, kaleidoscope by Amy K. Sterling

Metro Parks Centennial Art Center Gallery has launched its summer exhibit InterACTive, presenting new works for the community to explore. These interactive artworks include a range of materials both tangible and digital, some which invite hands-on engagement.

Local artists explore sensitive topics including civil rights, objectification of women, social justice and mental health, as well as other expressions using light and reflection. This exhibit is unlike anything the Art Center has presented to the public before, and the exhibit is wonderful to experience, for all ages.

InterACTive features Nadine Shillingford Wondem (charcoal drawing with QR codes), Henry L. Jones (interactive sculpture), Angel Iwanowski (video installation), Joshua Wagner (kinetic sculpture), Amy K. Sterling (interactive/kinetic sculpture), and Samantha Drapeaux (interactive sculpture). The exhibit opened with an artist reception on Friday, June 7, 2019, where gallery visitors had the opportunity to meet the artists. The exhibit will remain on display through Wednesday, July 24, 2019.

Henry L. Jones creates abstract art people interact with internally using their eyes and minds to see interesting colors or shapes, that perhaps connects them with something they’ve seen or felt. They’re reaching inwardly. Now, in this InterACTive exhibit, viewers can bridge the inner and outer links by actually touching his sculpture entitled 3D 4U. They can physically connect with what they are seeing. The nearly 8 feet high steel, wood and wire structure will enable gallery guests to use their hands to transform the sculpture and make it their own. Henry L. Jones finds inspiration in how forces shape the world. His works tends to focus on cultural and social issues with messages of hope and redemption. Jones is an award-winning Tennessee artist and writer. A graduate of Fisk University, he was raised in Detroit, Michigan and spent time teaching himself the art trade while living in Chicago.

With Art in a Bathhouse artist Nadine Shillingford Wondem explores the history of the Centennial Art Center complex. Built as a swimming complex in the 1930s, the pool played a pivotal role in the Nashville Civil Rights movement, when on July 19, 1961, six young men entered the Centennial Park pool complex, peacefully requested tickets and were refused. Two days after the incident, the Parks Board decided to close all of the city’s 23 swimming pools. The pool was never reopened. Instead it remained derelict until the building was converted into Centennial Art Center in the 1970s. Nadine’s beautifully rendered charcoal drawings on toned grey paper highlight the history of building during the 1960s. Users scan QR codes located around the exhibit to view further information about the building’s history including newspaper clippings from the 1960s and photos from the archives of the Tennessean.

The latest artwork of Angel Iwanowski examines the visual commodification of woman’s image in society. Short looping videos are displayed on the wall and installed in a plexiglass box with a plastic lid and sides, reminiscent of an incubator. Clinically atmospheric, the work aims to feel like an interactive viewing space into something otherworldly and private. Angel is a recent graduate of Watkins.

3D 4U, interactive sculpture by Henry L. Jones

Local artist and Art Center Director, Joshua Wagner, reclaims and recycles used materials and presents them in a new and elevated manner. These kinetic sculptures invite the viewer to touch and experience the artwork. His aim is to create sense and order from disorder. He understands that hoarding is a means to buffer from a perceived violation, and he personally struggles with a tendency to hoard. His artwork seeks to combat those tendencies and redeem those behaviors.

Amy K. Sterling strives to capture otherwise ephemeral elements of daily life through visual art. These handbuilt kaleidoscopes are an extension of her fascination with people and perception. Knowing that each person is unique and she will never understand the vastness of their inner world. She has built a large-scale kaleidoscope that invites both artist and viewer to consider the ways in which forces both seen and unseen manifest themselves in unique and often unpredictable ways.

Samantha Drapeaux tackles the subject of mental illness in her artwork and the stigma that surrounds it. Previously her work dealt with other people’s stories about their mental health journeys; her new work with mirrors reflects her own experiences with mental illness. Illnesses like depression and anxiety are still different to each person. Samantha states, “I may have a better idea than someone who doesn’t experience those feelings daily, but I can only know what a panic attack feels like to me. To end the stigma, we must all become more self-aware and more empathetic towards ourselves and each other. You can never know yourself too much.” By exploring these topics, her hope is that by bringing some of these issues into the open will bring more awareness and empathy towards ourselves and each other.

Metro Parks’ Centennial Art Center is a Historic Building located in the 25th Avenue North and Park Plaza corner of Nashville, Tennessee’s beautiful Centennial Park. Originally built as a swimming complex in 1932, it closed in 1959 and was renovated in 1971. The first Metro Nashville owned structure rehabilitated for “Adaptive Reuse,” it earned Museum Status by reopening as Centennial Art Center – a gallery and visual arts teaching facility that includes painting and pottery studios.

Centennial Art Center is a visual arts community center located in the northeast corner of Nashville’s Centennial Park. Centennial Art Center Gallery is free and open to the public. The exhibit is open through , July 24, 2019. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call Centennial Art Center at 615-862-8442, visit online: nashville.gov/cac or find them on facebook.

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