For some Nashville natives it may seem like the fabulous, family friendly, hands-on area at The Frist just opened up. In reality, it's been open for 16 years! It was definitely time for an upgrade, and boy do they have a lot of big plans!

The New MAQ
Dynamic new activities as well as old favorites will be housed in an inviting and refreshed space.

• Drawing, painting, printmaking, and other popular stations will return, but with improved functionality and variety.
• The exploration of the moving image will include a large zoetrope, a shadow theater, and stop-motion animation.
• A 16-foot interactive wall composed of color-changing dials will allow 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 Center 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.

The design responds to the prevalent cultural interest in hands-on learning as well as the increased popularity of shared learning and social media across generations. The changes also incorporate research findings from the four-year Family Learning in Interactive Galleries (FLING) research study funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, co-led by the Frist Center, the Speed Museum (Louisville), and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta). “Conversations with Frist Center families revealed the value they placed on interactive galleries as safe places to relax and unwind while engaging in rich sensory activities that foster a love and understanding of art,” says Henderson. “We have based our approach on visitor feedback. MAQ’s fundamental concepts will remain consistent. Art-making stations will continue to emphasize fundamental principles of art, and activities will be based on original works of art that correspond with current exhibitions on view in our galleries.”

While MAQ’s physical footprint will stay the same, the renovation will greatly expand the functionality and flexibility of the existing space, allowing for clear sight lines. Accessibility for all visitors remains a core commitment in the renovation. To address environmental issues that may affect visitors, sound baffling will be added to reduce noise, and light will be increased throughout the gallery to enhance visibility.

The existing ArtQuest area will close down on January 29th. During this time, many of the current ArtQuest exhibits will still be open to museum visitors in the adjacent studio classroom spaces on the upper level of The Frist.

Also starting January 29th — Family Mondays!

Family Mondays
Family Mondays, a new program offered on the last Monday of every month, will also begin on January 29. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., families can enjoy special programming, including storytime, family tours and MAQ activities in the studios. Entire families will be admitted for the price of one adult admission and discounts will be offered for the café, gift shop, and parking in the Frist Center visitor lot.

10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Admission: Entire family for cost of one adult admission; members free
10:30 Artful Tales: Storytime in the Galleries, Spanish version offered at 11
11:30 Family walk-up tour with sensory bags; Martin ArtQuest reserved for families (no school groups)

Café: Kids receive 15% off menu
Gift shop: 10% off children's items; members receive 20% off from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The brand new Martin ArtQuest is expected to re-open on May 24th with a ribbon cutting by Ellen H. Martin, performances and activities for the whole family and FREE admission from 3pm-9pm!

About Crystal Bowron

Crystal BowronCrystal was born and raised, and now raising a family of her own in Middle Tennessee. She currently lives in Murfreesboro with her husband Glenn, and their three children; Hunter, Grayson, and Hailey. They are an unschooling family, meaning they spend lots and lots of time out and about exploring all that this area has to offer!