NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A complete renovation of the award-winning Martin ArtQuest Gallery takes place beginning Jan. 29 at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
The 16-year-old, hands-on art-making space serves as a premier destination for families, children, and school groups to explore art. Scheduled to reopen on May 24, 2018, the updated gallery will feature enhanced activities focused on creative collaboration, critical thinking and communication.
The innovative redesign will bring fresh energy to the beloved resource, which to date has served nearly 1.5 million visitors of all abilities.
Upon opening in 2001, MAQ was at the forefront of museum education and became widely regarded as a leading interactive gallery.
During the renovation, hands-on art-making activities will still be available to Frist Center visitors. Some of the existing art stations and activities will be moved into the adjacent studio classroom spaces Jan. 29 to May 23 on the upper level of the Frist Center.
Family Mondays, a new program offered on the last Monday of every month, will also begin 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29 where families can enjoy special programming including story time, family tours and MAQ activities in the studios. Entire families will be admitted for the price of one adult admission and discounts will be offered for the café, gift shop, and parking in the Frist Center visitor lot.
The New MAQ
Dynamic new activities as well as old favorites will be housed in an inviting and refreshed space.
• Drawing, painting, printmaking, and other popular stations will return, but with improved functionality and variety.
• The exploration of the moving image will include a large zoetrope, a shadow theater, and stop-motion animation.
• A 16-foot interactive wall composed of color-changing dials will allow visitors to create large-scale designs using the full spectrum of colors.
• Visitors will be invited to contribute to a collaborative textile- weaving installation using a large six-sided art deco grid.
• A full-body digital painting experience will transform visitors into colors and shapes on a wall mural.
• Activities that explore Frist Center exhibitions, artists, and ideas will include new opportunities for visitor participation, dialogue, and response.
• In coming years, contemporary artists will be invited to design new interactive stations and to keep the space fresh and engaging.
The redesign was led by Roto, a leading creative consultant and design-build firm for museums, which operates a prototyping, technical engineering and fabrication shop, as well as an in-house visitor and school group evaluation program. Nashville-based R.C. Mathews Contractor will execute the construction of the space.
The changes incorporate research findings from the four-year Family Learning in Interactive Galleries (FLING) research study funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, co-led by the Frist Center, the Speed Museum (Louisville), and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta).
While MAQ’s physical footprint will stay the same, the renovation will greatly expand the functionality and flexibility of the existing space, allowing for clear sight lines. Accessibility for all visitors remains a core commitment in the renovation. To address environmental issues that may affect visitors, sound baffling will be added to reduce noise, and light will be increased throughout the gallery to enhance visibility.
Progress updates will be posted on fristcenter.org and on social media (@fristcenter). The grand reopening of Martin ArtQuest Gallery is scheduled for May 24, and will include a ribbon cutting with Ellen H. Martin, and performances and activities in the auditorium and throughout the building. Admission will be free to the public from 3:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Initial support for the renovation came from Ellen H. Martin, who has championed the space as a special place for children and families. Additional financial support has also come from the Hearst Foundation and from visitors of all ages.
Supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts
For more information, call 615-244-3340 or visit www.fristcenter.org.
# # #