The Frist Art Museum presents its first micro-exhibition, Elise Kendrick: Salon Noir. This exhibition includes artwork by Nashville artist Elise Kendrick that explores and pays homage to the beauty of African American women, their unique hairstyles, and the Black salon experience. Under the direction of student curator Jonathan Diggs, Salon Noir offers an immersive experience within a common, accessible space: the elevator.
About the Artist
Like many Nashvillians, Elise R. Kendrick is a transplant to Music City. Originally from the suburbs of Gahanna, Ohio, she developed her love of creativity while spending her summers in theater and art camps as a youth and sharing time with her mother doing arts and crafts at the kitchen table. Early on, her parents encouraged her quirky attitude, as well as her unconventional approach to life, which made it easier to pursue art on the collegiate level. While attending Tennessee State University, one of Nashville’s historically Black colleges and universities, she received her bachelor of science degree in art with a concentration in jewelry and metals. After college, she began painting seriously.
Her current work consists primarily of paintings of women of color in addition to linocut prints that touch on hair, race, culture, and the disruption of social norms. She often uses bright colors, black and white, and sometimes text to visually communicate information about her subjects. With each brushstroke, her goal is to capture the inner essence of the people she places on canvas.
About the Curator
Jonathan Diggs grew up in Nashville with a passion for creativity and community. He is currently a rising senior majoring in graphic design at Tennessee State University. Diggs’s love for graphic design stems from the unlimited potential of creativity. His goal as a graphic designer is to become a freelance artist, being versatile enough to work in a variety of fields while making meaningful connections with his clients. For Diggs, Project Uplift is an opportunity to explore an artistic career and create an exhibition from beginning to end.
“Working with all of the departments at the Frist and receiving their guidance and advice along the way has given me a great appreciation for the work of museum professionals,” says Diggs. “As a graphic designer I see how important communication is when it comes to translating the curator’s ideas to an actual exhibit. Fortunately, I can do both with this internship. Project Uplift truly has reshaped my thought process for the better around design and teamwork.”
About Project Uplift
Project Uplift is an internship designed to offer a student or recent graduate from a historically Black college or university in Nashville an opportunity to curate, design, market, and develop a program for a micro-exhibition featuring a local artist of color.
Organized by the Frist Art Museum with student curator Jonathan Diggs
Elise Kendrick: Salon Noir is funded in part by the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership project, hosted by Metro Arts and the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise & Public Policy at Vanderbilt University.