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Cheekwood Museum Celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2010
Dale Chihuly, Boat, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 2006. Photo by: Terry Rishel.
NASHVILLE, TN.- Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, a Nashville cultural treasure, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with many exciting programs and events during 2010. The institution was officially opened to the public on May 22, 1960.

The history and origin of Cheekwood are intimately interwoven with the growth of Nashville, the Maxwell House coffee brand and the Cheeks, one of the city's early entrepreneurial families. Leslie and Mabel Cheek moved into the mansion after three years of construction in January 1933. In 1943, Mabel Cheek deeded the house to her daughter, Huldah Cheek Sharp and her husband, Walter Sharp. The Sharps lived at Cheekwood until the 1950s when they offered it as a site for a botanical garden and art museum.

The development of the property was spearheaded by the Exchange Club of Nashville, the Horticultural Society of Middle Tennessee and many other civic groups. The Nashville Museum of Art donated its permanent collections and proceeds from the sale of its building to the effort.

Currently the botanical garden boasts 11 different gardens. From the Robertson Ellis Color Garden bursting with season displays of colorful annuals, to the formal Martin Boxwood Garden, visitors can walk through the 55 acres and discover different styles and periods of gardens and study a wide selection of plants that can be grown in Middle Tennessee. Cheekwood’s art collection includes over 7,000 pieces of American art, American and British decorative arts, and contemporary art, especially outdoor sculpture acquired for the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail.

Cheekwood is busy planning a host of events, programs and exhibitions to honor the landmark year, honoring Cheekwood’s past and celebrating its 50 years of contributions to Nashville.

· The American Impressionists in the Garden, on display March 13 through September 12, 2010, explores the theme of the garden in American art and society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s. The exhibition features approximately forty paintings depicting European and American gardens by American Impressionist artists along with four bronze sculptures created by American artists for the garden. This important exhibition, curated by Cheekwood, will then travel to Tampa Museum of Art (September 24, 2010 – January 3, 2011) and Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati (February 25 – May 15, 2011). A spectacular catalog of this exhibition will be produced by Vanderbilt Press and will be featured at all three sites.

· On display May 25 through October 31, 2010 Chihuly at Cheekwood, will present the work of glass artist Dale Chihuly. Cheekwood will be transformed into a wonderland where hand-blown glass and nature intertwine in perfect harmony. Chihuly at Cheekwood will feature spectacular garden installations, indoor chandeliers, and a museum gallery exhibition. From the Mille Fiori (A gigantic garden of glass) to the Saffron Tower (a 30-foot neon sculpture), this exhibition challenges convention with a feast of bold color, dramatic forms and extraordinary composition.

· Cheekwood Collects: The First 50 Years on display October 9, 2010 through January 2, 2011, reviews five decades of art collecting at Cheekwood, including highlights of gifts and acquisitions from each decade as well as a number of recent gifts from private collections. While looking back at our history as a collecting museum, we will also be celebrating the new works that help us build a collection for the future.



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