COVID-19 wrecked artist Nuveen Barwari’s solo show and other engagements that would’ve gotten her work in front of people. But a new program could allow her pieces to show in their natural environment.
Nashville Public Library and the Metro Arts Commission are hopping on a trend that makes art available for check out.
Libraries around the country have been experimenting with lending art, even before the pandemic. But Nashville’s launch comes at a time when artists are struggling to find in-person audiences.
“Being able to experience the work in person makes such a big difference,” Barwari said.
The artist submitted several pieces to be considered for the program. Her work is a fusion of photography and textiles inspired from her Kurdish culture, which she says are meant to be interactive.
“Whether it’s recycling old Kurdish fabrics, old rugs or stories, I feel like there’s a little chunk of Little Kurdistan,” she says.
Although the pandemic limited her opportunities to show at galleries, the opportunity to be in someone’s home actually brings her work closer to where it’s meant to be, since most materials she uses fit inside a home.
Metro Arts executive director Caroline Vincent says the commission works with local artists often.
“Given this year that started with the tornado in March and followed right with the pandemic, we really wanted to support local artists,” she says, “knowing that they have lost most of their income and abilities to support themselves.”
The city is accepting submissions until Sunday. The library and arts commission will pay artists between $300 and $700 to purchase their work.
Cardholders should be able to check out art starting in the spring, which will give time for selecting, framing, cataloging and adjusting branch availability. It will also allow the city to determine how long the art should be available for check out.
Correction: This story originally identified Barwari as Knoxville-based, where she is completing a degree program, but she calls Nashville her home. And while the city’s payments to artists tend to be in the range of $300 to $500, they are officially capped at $700.