Nashville artist Giro Gabayoyo’s work, FristFridays, received the largest number of votes in the Frist Center for the Visual Arts’ first online exhibition of local artists’ work selected from the To See As Artists See the Frist contest on Facebook. Inspired by the exhibition To See as Artists See: American Art from The Phillips Collection, which was on view in the Ingram Gallery through May 6, local artists submitted their work to be voted on via Facebook “likes;” the submissions chosen as finalists will remain on exhibition in an online gallery on the Frist Center’s website and Facebook page through July 31, 2012.

The To See as Artists See the Frist contest asked artists to depict what they saw upon their visit to the Frist Center. Invited to bring a sketchbook and pencil or iPad into the galleries with which to illustrate their ideas, participants were to select from the 10 thematic groups through which the To See as Artists See exhibition was organized—Romanticism and Realism, Impressionism, Forces in Nature, Nature and Abstraction, Modern Life, The City, Memory and Identity, Legacy of Cubism, Degrees of Abstraction, and Abstract Expressionism—and create a two-dimensional work of art based on their experience at the Frist Center that relates to their chosen category.

After receiving 69 submissions, members of the Frist Center staff juried the artworks and chose 22 finalists whose works were displayed and voted upon by the public on the Frist Center’s Facebook page; the artist of the submission with the most “likes” would win “Best of Show” and a gift packet including a one-year Frist Center membership.

The online response to the exhibition was unprecedented, garnering over 1,390 votes—or “likes”— and 103 individual “shares” for the 22 artworks. Gabayoyo’s work was declared “Best of Show” with an impressive 353 votes for his FristFridays oil painting. He said of the competition, “It has been a great joy and a wonderful experience participating in the Frist’s online contest. I was overwhelmed by the responses on the Facebook page. The “likes”/votes came from many diverse parts of the world. It is very humbling to have so many people say such nice things about my work.”

Additionally, the online exhibition contributed to the growing dialogue among the Nashville arts community as seen in the proliferation of Facebook comments attached to the works in the online gallery. Supportive and applauding remarks were added by not only friends and supporters of the artists, but also by other artists participating in the contest. “Mostly, I enjoyed looking at the variety of other entries and became a bit attached to some of them,” says artist Lisa Haddad, whose photograph Frist Reflection garnered 99 “likes” and a stream of comments. “The show was a brilliant idea,” says contest finalist Beth Inglish, artist of Outdoor Romance. “It’s refreshing that a major art institution such as the Frist discovered a way to successfully engage the local art community. I knew many of the artists chosen and it was thrilling to show my work with them.”

Artists also used the To See as Artists See the Frist contest as an opportunity to explore their own ideas and techniques in a new way. “I was grateful for the inspiration to look at the building itself and respond to it in a new way, reflected by glass windows across the street,” says Ms. Haddad. “I usually photograph nightscapes of the city—lots of neon, glass surfaces, distortion and vivid color in the dark. The Frist image was taken during the day and it might precipitate the start of a new daylight photo series!”

About the Frist Center
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located at 919 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Tenn., is an art exhibition center dedicated to presenting the finest visual art from local, regional, U.S. and international sources in a program of changing exhibitions. The Frist Center’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery (open until 5:30 p.m. each day) features interactive stations relating to Frist Center exhibitions. Gallery admission to the Frist Center is free for visitors 18 and younger and to Frist Center members. Frist Center admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for seniors, military and college students with ID. College students are admitted free Thursday and Friday evenings (with the exception of Frist Fridays), 5–9 p.m. Discounts are offered for groups of 10 or more with advance reservation by calling (615) 744-3247.The Frist Center is open seven days a week: Mondays through Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sundays, 1–5:30 p.m., with the Frist Center Café opening at noon. Additional information is available by calling (615) 244-3340 or by visiting our website at

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