New Nashville Metro Arts Director to Make Six-Figure Salary

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The Nashville Metro Arts Commission has a new executive director, and she’ll make twice Nashville’s median household income.

New Executive Director Caroline Vincent has worked for Metro Arts since 2011. She will make $118,000 per year, according to The Tennessean.

That’s nearly twice Nashville’s median household income — $61,577 — according to Forbes.

As Tennessee Watchdog has reported, this government entity has given out millions of taxpayer dollars for abstract art for display in and around the city, sometimes to out-of-state artists.

Among them:

• In 2016 members of the department paid 20 times the regular market value for new bike racks downtown.

• They paid an out-of-state artist $300,000 to create an exhibit commemorating the Civil Rights Movement, even though the artist lived 2,000 miles away in California….and that money did not recirculate in Tennessee. Artist Walter Hood created “Witness Walls” on the west side of the Metro Nashville Courthouse. The project portrays sculptural images of Civil Rights activists from the 1960s, according to the Metro Arts Commission’s website.

• “Stix,” erected outside the Music City Convention Center, cost the city $750,000. That project is nothing more than a bunch of sticks with bright, shiny colors. The artist, Christian Moeller, was also from California. called it “the most expensive public art piece ever in Nashville.”

• Nashville taxpayers had to pay two Seattle-based artists $350,000 to create a sculpture, “River Concept,” at Nashville’s West Riverfront Park that supposedly symbolizes the meandering Cumberland River. Tennessee Tax Revolt President Ben Cunningham, upon seeing the artists’ rendering of the project, said it looks “like an intestinal tract.”

• Cunningham also described another Metro Arts project, “Ghost Ballet” installed in 2010, as another boondoggle and said a few years ago that it looked “like some welder was on crack.” That project cost the taxpayers $340,600. The artist, Alice Aycock, was from Maryland.

Another project, “Tool Fire,” cost $30,000. An artist from Alabama glued several shovels, rakes, and pickaxes together, painted them black, and molded them into a 12-foot high sculpture along the Cumberland River. Visitors may see the sculpture at Shelby Bottoms Park, only three miles from the Grand Ole Opry.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to

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2 Thoughts to “New Nashville Metro Arts Director to Make Six-Figure Salary”

  1. Randall

    Are the naked people dancing in the roundabout on Demonbreun considered art ?

  2. 83ragtop50

    Another bad joke for Nashville.