Did You Know?
For the first time ever, the Tivoli Theater is hosting five Broadway shows in 2017, including “Dirty Dancing,” “Chicago,” “Rent,” “Riverdance,” and “Annie.”
Home to many artists and creatives, Chattanooga is rich with art and culture. Its continued growth and development serves to enrich communities, celebrate diversity, and encourage economic prosperity in the Chattanooga area. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the finest in visual and performing arts. The Hunter Museum of American Art houses American art from the Colonial period to the present day. The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, the nation’s first and only combined symphonic and opera organization in the United States, offers more than 30 full concerts each season.
The Tivoli and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium host nationally and internationally popular artists. Billed as the Southern Sundance, the Chattanooga Film Festival, with 50 features and 100 shorts, celebrates the art of motion pictures with four days of movies, parties, and events. The Chattanooga Ballet Company and School, composed of both professional dancers and advanced level students, is recognized as one of Tennessee’s leading dance organizations and performs both classical and contemporary works.
The city government, in partnership with nonprofits, actively supports the arts. Through its program, Public Art Chattanooga, a collection of 100 permanent and 42 temporary works of art are on display in parks, neighborhoods, and sidewalks throughout the city. The city also supports Sculpture Fields, a 33-acre large-scale sculpture park showcasing a collection of international works of art by renowned sculptors. Currently displaying 28 large-scale sculptures, the park was once a city landfill but is now a destination free to the public.
Several local organizations and nonprofits support arts education in the area. ArtsBuild, a private, nonprofit united arts fund and arts council, supports local art organizations and leads the advancement of arts and culture in the Chattanooga area. ArtsBuild launched The Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute for teachers to provide a better understanding of the role of arts in the community. Another organization, The Southern Lit Alliance, promotes the literary arts and helps educate and enrich students with programs for creative writing and drama. Each year, it leads the Celebration of Southern Literature which hosts the South’s leading writers and literary fans.
Local organizations and galleries support local artists. The Association for Visual Arts (AVA) supports the advancement of visual arts and provides support for professional and emerging artists. Each year it hosts the 4 Bridges Art Festival and juried art show. AVA also hosts Gallery Hop, featuring 24 galleries, studios, and exhibits. HART Gallery helps homeless artists show and sell their art.
The arts are integral to the authenticity and character of Chattanooga neighborhoods. Community creative placemaking groups, such as Glass House Collective, are reshaping the physical and social character of neighborhoods through art and cultural activities. Each year, the Southside Stroll features open-house events that showcase artists and musicians. The eclectic North Shore area of Chattanooga is home to art galleries, antiques and craft shops, and the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, one of the oldest and largest community theatres in the country. The Bluff View Art District, overlooking the Tennessee River, features River Gallery’s regional, national, and international art collection, as well as its award-winning sculpture garden. Restaurants and bakeries celebrate the culinary arts with fresh food, locally grown produce, and artisan baked goods.
Diversity is celebrated and encouraged through the arts. Each year Chattanooga State Community College hosts Culture Fest, which celebrates cultural differences through performing, culinary, literary, and visual arts. The Bessie Smith Cultural Center celebrates African American Heritage and is an educational institution and venue for performances, banquets, and meetings. Other events throughout the year celebrate German, Latino, and Native American heritages, along with Chattanooga’s Civil War history.