The Frist Changes Its Name, Hoping To Lure More Visitors As An ‘Art Museum’ | Nashville Public Radio

The Frist Changes Its Name, Hoping To Lure More Visitors As An ‘Art Museum’

Apr 2, 2018

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville has officially changed its name. While the re-branding is subtle, the museum hopes the shift will bring more visitors inside.

Nothing is changing with the institution's prominent pedigree from the family that started the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country. Instead of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, it will now be known as the Frist Art Museum.

In a way, this is following what most people in Nashville already call it, says executive director Susan Edwards. 

When museum leaders looked at market research a few years ago, Edwards also realized people who didn't know the Frist were confused by the term "visual arts."

"Oddly, many people responded, does that mean performing arts, or is that the theatre, or is there music? When you'd say it's the art museum, they'd say, 'Oh, great!' " she said.

So the name change is a way to clarify its role in the city's art scene. "We think this is the most direct way to let people know what to expect when they walk through the doors."

The Frist opened in 2001 in an old, art deco U.S. Postal Service building in downtown Nashville. At the time, there wasn't much foot traffic in that part of the city.

But now, it's smack in between the increasingly busy honky tonks on Lower Broad and the booming Gulch. A massive development called Nashville Yards is being planned across the street, with apartments, hotels, and a music venue. For the sake of luring in visitors who aren't already familiar with the museum, the Frist can't be accidentally ambiguous anymore. 

The Frist's new logo
Credit Courtesy of the Frist Art Museum

The name change comes with a new logo and "visual brand" that's "meant to convey a sense of inclusiveness," according to a museum press release. The website and branding on the building itself will change in the coming weeks, Edwards says.

"I certainly think we will be more inviting to passers-by," she said.