This week’s spotlight: The Nashville Scene. What’s buzzing & what they’re inspiring me to do.

Well, this post has taken a full 180.

What I thought would be a bucketlist of the fun adventures I wanted to partake in before heading abroad for the spring, I found myself inspired by local people and organizations in Nashville.

The one regret I hope to avoid having after my time at Vandy is not venturing into Nashville enough. Yes, this entails going to feast at Loveless, rubbing shoulders with a celeb, and visiting all the honky-tonks downtown. However, as I find myself keeping in the loop with some of Nashville’s most popular blogs I found myself wanting to explore as a true local – beyond the bright lights and cityscape of Broadway.

1.    Arts & Culture: The new Plowhaus Gallery marks the return of an Easy Nashville pioneer.

Wow. An amazing group of artists with a vision. Drawn to this article by my love for art museums, I was surprised to find myself so motivated by their cause. Plowhaus was founded by a group of artists in 2001 whose story’s inspired by the 9/11 attacks. This small group was leaving NYC at 2 AM and within hours, the planes had hit. Struck by the helplessness of this event, they immediately spoke about their need to give back to the community, recalling on their site that they, “couldn’t just sit there wondering what was going to happen next.” The founders opened this venue, the first in the East Nashville area.  Their motivation: to open a space, as described on their website, “where every artist could declare ownership in a true, grass-roots venture.” Their motivations are an admirable aspect of their cause that I plan to apply to my own endeavors. I won’t lie…I’ve already made plans to visit this gallery. I would love to immerse myself into the Nashville art scene beyond the upscale Frist. But more than that, I would love to visit in support of the foundation to their motives.

2.    Bites: It’s all well and good at Green Hills’ nonprofit coffee shop The Well: The Purpose-Driven Cafe.

Refreshing. Nothing is more refreshing than learning about a coffee shop beyond Starbucks. And better yet, one that is actually making waves. The Well, with it’s nonprofit mentality, centers on the Wishing Well – a community board where customers can write their “philanthropic goals” for all to see and share.  As the article notes, “Check out The Well’s Facebook page and you’ll see an update about Jessica, who wished for a car and received a truck from a stranger.” If there is one thing I love to see in others, it is their drive to make a change. The Well is a place that inspires me to be more – to recognize that it is possible to not only make small daily impacts on the lives of those around me but also work further into the nonprofits I am involved in already. This is a shop that I foresee myself visiting in the immediate future and most likely becoming a very loyal, and quietly inspired, customer.

3.    Music: Muddy Roots Music Festival, at June Bug Ranch, Cookville.

Nashville. Music City. Part of the appeal of Vandy to me has always been the music scene. Music is a big part of who I am and I would be utterly lost without it. Music festivals for me are like giant love fests of strangers obsessing over a common artist or genre. Nothing beats the feeling of hearing hundreds surrounding you singing the same words, invested in every note that is played. Muddy Roots Festival recognizes their festival as a place where we can all come together. Their mission statement comments that it “isn’t just a big party, it is principles and philosophies in action; it just happens to be one hell of a good time as well.” The goal of the festival is to go beyond music as a means to succeed and make money – to break away from the consumption culture of popular music. In a time where music is often lost among the glitz and glam, this festival proves that we can come together for the music. Though the festival took place during the beginning of September, the philosophy of Muddy Roots hones in on my desires to venture into the live music scene. Kicking it off this weekend at the Bluebird Café, I plan to venture to a live music show atleast once every other week this semester.

I dare you to join me. Not just on my small excursions into Nashville but into supporting these causes. Find a local business with a mission that inspires you and run with it. Help them out and I can assure you you’ll feel the rewards of it in return.

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