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© Artober Nashville/Used With Permission
© Artober Nashville/Used With Permission
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Celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month With Artober Nashville

Picture of Katie Miller
Updated: 30 September 2016
October 1 marks the first day of Artober, a month-long celebration of the arts held throughout Nashville in honor of National Arts & Humanities Month. This year marks the sixth year of the festival, which promotes Nashville’s abundance of all genres of art while also increasing citizen participation in the city’s thriving art scene. Whether you’re planning a visit to Nashville in October and are interested in submerging yourself in an art scene that goes far deeper than the music that Nashville is known for, read on for a brief guide to this year’s festivities.

So What Is Artober, Anyway?

Founded in 2011 by the Metro Arts Commission, Artober partners with local arts and cultural organizations throughout Nashville to promote the diversity of artistic endeavors that pulse beneath the city’s surface. By 2013, the festival had swelled in popularity so quickly that it became (and still is) one of the south’s largest artistic and cultural celebrations; this year’s festival will highlight hundreds of partner organizations and expects to engage over 400,000 Nashville locals in a wide range of events.

Unlike traditional festivals that take place in one centralized location over one condensed period of time, Artober reaches nearly every corner and crevice of the city by highlighting events that are taking place throughout the town. These events are hosted by artists and organizations that have officially partnered with Artober, and the events include everything from large music performances and art exhibitions to book festivals and outdoor movie nights.

Ultimately, the Artober celebration does not seek to create a new event, per se; rather, Artober is remarkable because it celebrates Nashville’s wide-ranging artistic community and seeks to engage Nashvillians in the thriving creativity that ties the city together. Artober is founded upon the idea that access to and engagement in the arts is not merely a form of entertainment — rather, art is an invaluable tool for empowerment and deepening of community involvement.

What Can You Expect From This Year’s Artober?

Just like every year since the inaugural celebration, this year’s Artober will feature events of nearly every artistic genre imaginable. To get a comprehensive picture of the different Artober events taking place throughout town this October, it is highly recommended that you spend a moment or two perusing the official Artober calendar; before you do so, however, here are a few key things to know about this year’s festivities:

Firstly, Artober officially kicks off with the Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival on Saturday, October 1st. The Celebrate Festival will be held in Centennial Park and will highlight Nashville’s immense cultural diversity through live music, dance and an abundance of international food options. The festival’s fundamental mission is to foster awareness and conversation amongst members of different cultural communities in Nashville. The festival is free to attend and is one of the best opportunities of the entire year to deepen your awareness of, participation in and understanding of the manifold backgrounds and cultural traditions of all those who call themselves ‘Nashvillians.’

© Gary Layda, Artober/Used With Permission
© Gary Layda, Artober/Used With Permission

Beyond the Celebrate Festival, this year’s Artober will feature a number of different arts and cultural events, including a handful of Signature Events. The Signature Events for 2016 includes Our Town, a public art project aimed at generating conversation and reflection amongst Nashville locals, as well as a TEDx: Creo, an event co-sponsored by TEDxNashville that probes into the nuanced intersections between art, race, religion, gender identity and social justice in Nashville.

For a full list of this year’s Signature Artober Events, as well as the dates, times and locations for each event, click here.

The setup for OUR TOWN NASHVILLE: FIELD REPORTS is coming along nicely!

A photo posted by Our Town Nashville (@ourtownnashville) on

Whether you can only make it to an event or two or you plan to squeeze in as many of these thought-provoking and creativity-sparking events as possible, do yourself a favor and check out the official Artober website for more information about the celebration. No matter your artistic background, you won’t regret it.