A few blocks south of downtown Nashville is a stunning replica of the Parthenon. Really. Inside are historical exhibits and fine art—and a gilded, 42-foot statue of Athena. Learning how Alan LeQuire researched the long-destroyed Greek original, I wanted to meet him. Easy enough—LeQuire’s gallery was nearby.
The adjoining studio pulsed with works colossal in size and spirit. The sculptor describes the genesis of a work created when he was 17: Examining a giant cedar tree felled by lightening, “I saw a large human/bird form in it. It was very dramatic with lots of splintering.” Since then, he’s made all his wood sculptures from trees that fell naturally.
He also creates animal figures that are displayed all around town, including a bronze lab/spaniel “Butler” for the Nashville Humane Association. LeQuire’s latest project: art for a friend’s program about Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel prize winner who advocated compassion to all living beings.
Nashville lives up to its “Music City” nickname 24/7. Tour legendary Ryman Auditorium—where for $15, you can professionally record your own CD!
Spend a day at the Country Music Hall of Fame (where some PETA supporters are honored), honkytonk at Tootsie’s, catch an undercover superstar jamming at the Station Inn, or attend a symphony Nashville-style at the superb Schermerhorn.
A Next Big Nashville festival foray had me bookmarking a slew of indie rockers’ pages on YouTube. There, I found this music video by animal-loving local Kim Cady—”Save One at a Time.”
Speaking of animals … dogs are welcome at the remodeled Sheraton downtown, so bring them along.
Dining options include Grins Vegetarian Cafe near Vanderbilt; the Veggie Cafe on Riverside Drive, and just south of town, Woodlands, which has all-you-can-eat vegetarian Indian food with plenty of vegan choices. Trendy, upscale, organic devotees at Flyte and Tayst like cooking vegan.
There’s also a vegan-friendly green general store with vegan treats, cruelty-free cosmetics and soaps (including BabyBearShop!), and a “filling station” with eco-safe cleaners. The Green Wagon has locations in Sylvan Park and East Nashville. And if you happen to be traveling on waste vegetable oil, that’s what the shopkeeper uses in the namesake wagon.
Heading to Nashville? Get info on events, attractions, and lodging at http://www.visitmusiccity.com or by calling 800-657-6910.