May 2017

The scenic city is host to a variety of art events and exhibits

WORDS Jennifer Crutchfield

Hunter Museum of American Art; Photograph Courtesy of the Hunter Museum

Chattanooga has been charming travelers for generations. Over 900 iconic, hand-painted See Rock City barns have dotted American highways since 1935, beckoning families on road trips to enjoy the Scenic City and its attractions. With the fantastic views, fanciful gnomes, and now a wealth of art, culture, music, and creative experiences, there is something for everyone to love in Chattanooga. Today’s day-trippers can plan an adventure in art with a dizzying array of opportunities, from galleries, attractions, and exhibits to music festivals, concerts, foodie fun, and more.

From public art to one-of-a-kind experiences, Chattanooga is an art lover’s paradise. The transformation from America’s dirtiest city to the “Best City” has been celebrated nationwide, and art has been a purposeful part of that revitalization. Public Art Chattanooga is a city department dedicated to enhancing the civic environment and enriching the lives of visitors and residents. From a massive Meg Saligman mural to Art in the Neighborhoods, Art on Main, and permanent indoor and outdoor collections, guests can walk or drive to engage in the art and the city around it.

Heinz Aeschlimann, Composer, Steel, 24’ x 22’ x 19’; Photograph Courtesy of Sculpture Fields

History has come alive under the masterful eye of four-time Emmy® Award-winning artist Wayne White. “Wayne-O-Rama,” a yearlong indoor “funhouse” in Chattanooga’s Southside Arts District, has drawn guests and volunteer artists from around the country for an experience that Wayne describes as “Goony Golf meets the Smithsonian.” From a Magic Lookout Mountain with a working Incline Railway to Chief Dragging looming with fascinating ferocity over the gallery’s main room, this exhibit, produced by the Shaking Ray Levi Society, guides guests through the city’s history with art that sets the senses tingling. A regular series of concerts and music adds another dimension to this fun attraction. Wayne-O-Rama will be open until September 30. The Hunter Museum of American Art will be hosting a Wayne White exhibit June through October.

The Houston Museum of Decorative Arts sits, ladylike, next to the famed Hunter Museum of American Art in the Bluff View Art District. Atop a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, this museum houses one of the largest collections of art glass in a unique Victorian structure, a gift to her city from the eccentric Anna Safley Houston.

The Hunter Museum of American Art boasts breathtaking views of the city and a famed collection, and is the end-point of the glass-paneled Holmberg pedestrian bridge connecting to the Walnut Street bridge and hosts events, workshops, and yoga. From the River Gallery Sculpture Garden to the bocce ball court, Rembrandt’s Coffee, Tony’s, Back Inn Café, the Bluff View Bakery, and the Bluff View Inn, this district can absorb a whole day of fun itself.

River Gallery; Photograph Courtesy Bluff View Art District

From eclectic to refined, the galleries in Chattanooga have something for everyone. Area 61 and the Hart Gallery on the Southside and WinderBinder in NorthShore are magical shopping adventures, each surrounded by great opportunities for a snack at area restaurants and bars. Shuptrine’s Gallery, the River Gallery at Bluff View, In-Town Gallery, and Plum Nelly in NorthShore are just a few of the unique galleries that are a perfect complement to an artful daytrip in the city.

In the Southside you can stretch your legs at the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park. This 33-acre International Sculpture Park is the vision of renowned artist John Henry and is on a fully restored brownfield with over 100 trees and native plantings. Featuring 32 large-scale sculptures, this park is free and open to the public and was established as a public-private partnership between the City of Chattanooga and the Sculpture Fields non- profit organization.

Wayne-O-Rama; Photograph by Mark A. Herndon

Remember, during your artful daytrip in Chattanooga, to keep a notebook handy for your must-see list for next time!

For a complete listing of places of interest in Chattanooga, see this article online at For more information, visit,,,,, and



Bluff View

Back Inn Café


Main Street/McCallie

Feed Table and Tavern

Slick’s Burgers

Zarzour’s – Southern Living’s best burger in Tennessee



Clyde’s on Main

Niedlov’s Breadworks

The Flying Squirrel Bar

St. John’s Restaurant

Main Street Meats

Choo Choo


Frothy Monkey



Sluggo’s North Vegetarian Café

Beast and Barrel

Good Dog

Clumpie’s Ice Cream Co.

Terra Nostra Tapas

Sushi Nabe

Taco Mamacita

Embargo 62

Aretha Frankensteins

Art Experiences

 Wayne-O-Rama –

1800 Rossville Avenue, #108, 37408

Sculpture Fields –

1800 Polk Street, 37408

Bluff View Sculpture Garden –

Creative Discovery Museum –

Rock City Gardens –

Songbirds –

Chattanooga Theatre Centre –

Tivoli –

Memorial Soldiers and Sailors Auditorium –                                                       

Barking Legs Theater –

Public Art –



Area 61 Gallery

Hart Gallery

River Gallery

Shuptrine’s Gallery

Hunter Museum

Houston Museum

In-Town Gallery

Cress Gallery

Reflections Gallery

Tanner Hill Gallery

LP Cline Gallery

Works A Gallery

Chattanooga WorkSpace

Association for Visual Arts – Gallery and Workshops

Winder Binder Bookstore and Folk Art Gallery

Plum Nelly Shop & Gallery


 Nightfall (

850 Market Street

This free weekly music festival has featured musical acts as diverse as the crowd that attends them for 30 seasons. Every Friday night from 7 to10 p.m. from May 5th to August 25th guests enjoy incredible live music, food and beverage concessions, and a fun small-town spirit of welcome that is distinctly Chattanoogan.

Riverfront Nights (

201 Riverfront Parkway, Ross’s Landing

Produced by Friends of the Festival (Riverbend), this decade-old free weekly Saturday night concert series is a perfect family-friendly combination of the Tennessee River, great music, happy people, and delicious food and beverage concessions. Throughout July, August, and September, Ross’s Landing is a great place to finish out a fun Chattanooga adventure Saturday nights from 6:30 to 10-ish p.m.

Riverbend (

From Ludacris to the Flaming Lips, this week-long festival has been rocking the waterfront since 1982. You can buy a ticket for a day or for the whole festival and enjoy music on nine stages with concessions and activities aplenty.

Track 29

Revelry Room

JJ’s Bohemia

231 East MLK Boulevard

This might be one of the coolest dive bars in the state featuring the best bands you’ve never heard of, cold beer, and the atmosphere that only a true local institution has.

Boxcar Pinion Bluegrass Festival                                                                                                (

May 4, 5 and 6

Camping, concessions, and some of the best bluegrass music in the region are the hallmarks of this festival. For 27 years aficionados of bluegrass have been gathering at Raccoon Mountain campgrounds for a weekend of authentic, engaging, and foot-stomping pickin’ and grinnin’.

Three Sisters Bluegrass Festival (

October 6, 7

Celebrating its 10th year, this bluegrass festival is a gift to Chattanooga from the Fletcher Bright Company and has been named one of the top five bluegrass festivals in the country.

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