The Survivor by Eleanor Taylor

Art of the Week

Our current social climate may put stress on any one of us, but some populations are more acutely affected than others. The need for quarantine and social distance, for instance, impacts teenagers in particularly challenging ways — dramatically changing rites of passage like high school graduations, limiting in-person contact with peers and otherwise adding extra stressors at a point in life when determining your path and identity are already hard enough.

But in Frist Art Museum’s latest online exhibition, some local teens are turning these challenges into opportunities to create unique and captivating works of art. Frist is presenting the second edition of its “Teens Take The Frist!” showcase, with roughly 50 pieces of different media created by artists of ages 13 to 19 from Nashville’s surrounding counties. Coinciding with the spread of the novel coronavirus, the exhibition offers a critical opportunity for these young artists to express themselves and amplify their creative voices.

“With many schools shifting to online learning because of COVID-19 restrictions, art has become more important that ever as an avenue of communication and connection,” said Shaun Giles, the museum’s assistant director for community engagement and the exhibition’s curator, according to a press release. “The works in this exhibition provide a glimpse into the artists’ observations and what is important to them.”

The show is an all-too-rare chance to connect with the perspectives of emerging artists. And, with many of the exhibited pieces being created while these artists were in quarantine, it also offers a glimpse into how some members of this uniquely affected population are interpreting the world around them. The Survivor, an ink and acrylic drawing on newsprint by Eleanor Taylor, serves as a relatively direct commentary on the health crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into turmoil and uncertainty, affecting the lives of billions of people across the globe,” Taylor wrote in an artist’s statement shared by Frist. “And yet, hope remains. This piece shows the image of an old woman smiling over a COVID-19 newspaper article. It is a reminder to smile even during dark times.”

Frist Art Museum is located at 919 Broadway.

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