Rewind a decade, and the corner we call Riverside Village wasn't abuzz with activity, so much. Nowadays, it's undeniably vibrant, with some of East Nashville's best sushi and Moscow Mules and a friendly neighborhood pharmacy and one of the best sandwiches in America, according to the Travel Channel, just for starters.
Come March, that piece of McGavock Pike will also be home to a new art gallery, focused on discovering and boosting emerging artists and offering a regular run of "museum-caliber exhibitions."
The new Red Arrow Gallery comes our way from Joshua Tree, Calif., and hosts its first opening at 1311 McGavock on March 1, showing off the work of Nashville artist Kate Krebs (some pieces pictured above; click them to embiggen). Ahead of the opening, we chatted with gallery partner Katie Shaw to get a little background and a sense of what to expect from our creative new neighbors.
The East Nashvillian: How'd you come to open and run a gallery?
Katie Shaw: "My professional background has always centered on sales and hospitality. After moving to Joshua Tree, Calif., in 2006, I took over the reins of The Red Arrow Gallery in February 2007 (the original owner opened and ran it for about seven months prior before leaving Joshua Tree for various reasons) and continued to hold exhibitions until my husband, daughter and I moved here to East Nashville in 2012. The Red Arrow continued to run, via a new and now current partner, Rhonda Coleman, until April 2013. I fell into this business and then fell in love with it…
"[Rhonda has a] masters in fine arts and 20-plus-year span in the art world, and I have two other partners [Sarah Paul and Selby Knoblock], and they come from non-gallery backgrounds but are both passionate and committed to East Nashville and launching The Red Arrow here. They are and will bring much to this new space."
What prompted the move from California to Tennessee?
"My husband and I are from Ohio and really wanted to get closer to family. We lived in the beautiful and harsh desert of Joshua Tree for seven years and made it through almost one year of our daughter's new life there before realizing that we needed to be around familiar terrain as our youth, somewhere with grass and sidewalks, to raise Ellington."
Why were you drawn toward East Nashville, specifically, in relaunching The Red Arrow Gallery?
"We moved to East Nashville on Christmas day 2012. We found a house to rent on Scott Ave. and lived there for a little over a year. We purchased our home in Inglewood (.08 miles from the new gallery space) in March of 2013 and the rest is becoming history. We feel a kinship with the community of East Nashville and are committed."
Do you feel like there's a marked difference between the Red Arrow in Joshua Tree and the new East Nashville gallery?
"On the level of overall shows we will present and the general 'approachable,' 'art for everyone' aesthetic, definitely not. On the level of entirely bigger city and level of clientele and community, without doubt. This is an exciting and challenging time."
What prompted your focus on emerging artists and pushing young careers?
"My focus has always been showing contemporary 'up and coming' artists. It's what I'm drawn to and what excites me. The curve into 'artist development' is solely to do with my partner Rhonda Coleman."
What are your impressions/feelings about the visual art scene in Nashville so far -- and in East Nashville, in particular?
"We are so excited to be a part of the art community in Nashville. I've been particularly drawn to Zeitgeist since we moved here and am very intrigued by what OZ has to offer.
"In East Nashville specifically there are so many venues that showcase a talent pool that I hope to connect with and make a bit more seen. Most of these venues, however, are also other businesses or sell multiple retail items, and sometimes the overall feeling that an artist may be trying to get through, I feel, gets lost.
"The difference I feel that The Red Arrow will offer East Nashville is that we will be a venue that is gallery only. White walls, solo or minimal group shows and bright lights/big feeling. You're at an opening. This is an event. Wine will be served."
The opening reception for The Red Arrow Gallery's first exhibition, Radical Range of Mind with Nashville artist Kate Krebs, is set for 6 p.m. on March 1. The exhibition will run throughout March.