Martin ArtQuest

The Newly Renovated Martin ArtQuest Gallery is NOW OPEN!


On Thursday, May 24, the Frist Art Museum unveiled the completely renovated Martin ArtQuest Gallery (MAQ) to the public. The award-winning, hands-on art-making space serves as a premier destination for families, children, and school groups to explore art. The updated gallery features enhanced activities focused on creative collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.

The innovative redesign has brought fresh energy to the beloved resource, which to date has served more than 1.5 million visitors of all abilities. “The great success of the gallery is directly related to the abiding passion and generosity of Ellen Martin and the Martin Foundation, who from the very early planning stages of the Frist played an integral part in the creation of this multigenerational and educational space,” says Frist Center Executive Director Dr. Susan H. Edwards.


Dynamic new activities as well as old favorites are now housed in the inviting and refreshed space with Art Deco design details that mirror that of the building.
• Drawing, painting, printmaking, and other popular stations have returned, but with improved functionality and variety.
• The exploration of the moving image includes a large zoetrope, a shadow theater, and stop-motion animation.
• A 16-foot interactive wall composed of color-changing dials allows 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 Art Museum 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.

We are grateful to The Frist Foundation, Ellen H. Martin, The James Stephen Turner Family Foundation, Corner Partnership, LLC, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and visitors of all ages for their financial support of the renovation.

The Frist Art Museum welcomes gifts of any amount to support this renovation. Thank you!




The Frist Art Museum is deeply grateful to our generous Martin ArtQuest Gallery Benefactors:

  • Ellen H. Martin, Charles N. Martin, and the Martin Foundation
  • The Cal Turner Family Foundation
  • Lynn and Ken Melkus
  • The William Stamps Farish Fund


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