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The Art Gallery is the most versatile space at the Center for the Arts, serving as a reception hall, practice space for our theatrical productions, and housing a concession stand and full-service bar. Most importantly, it holds a rotating selection of curated art from local artists.

For inquiries related to the art gallery, please contact us at (615) 904-2787 or


The Hello Beautiful exhibition by artist Nadine Shillingford celebrates female beauty in a collection of charcoal drawings and mixed media pieces. Nadine brings her drawings to life by giving each subject a unique personality. This is achieved by focusing strongly on features of each subject such as her eyes, smile, and hair. Nadine uses charcoal as the dominant medium in her paper drawings. However, she also incorporates pastel colors in some of her pieces. The color is subtle in some drawings such as the cases when she uses light pastel pencils to highlight facial features such as the lips or eye color. In other cases, she uses brighter pastel chalk to bring a vibrancy to the piece by giving the subject accessories such as jewelry or patterned clothing. Some of her images feature unconventional older women who can be seen wearing features such as nose rings or riding a motorcycle. The large colorful pieces of the collection are done on stretched canvas using combinations of charcoal, acrylic, reused paper and/or cloth.


Artist Statement:

Nadine Shillingford is a Nashville-based artist who works primarily with charcoal on paper but also enjoys creating mixed media pieces using reused materials. She was born on the island of Dominica and her West Indian roots and black heritage can be seen in her artwork. Nadine moved to the USA to attend graduate school in 1999. She moved to Nashville in 2013 to work as a cybersecurity engineer at a local healthcare company. It was during lunch time walks while working at the healthcare company that she discovered the Centennial Art Center in Centennial Park. She registered for a painting class and stepped into the Nashville art scene. However, it was not until 2019, when she discovered the joy of working with charcoal on toned grey paper, that art became a lifestyle. She challenged herself to complete one drawing a day and committed to posting the drawings online to show her progress. This practice continued until it became a routine that she found difficult to break. She enjoyed watching her drawings improve with her consistency. Nadine started adding color to her charcoal drawings in 2022 when she realized that she needed to add red to her drawing for the Tomato Fest 2022 competition. At first, she dabbled with small spots of color but soon she gained confidence and started adding more color to her charcoal pieces. The color added a fun and exciting touch to her drawings.

Nadine has exhibited work in various locations in Nashville and beyond. She won Second Place in the Division 400 - Judged Art Show Class 01 - Professional - Painting/Pencil/Charcoal category of the 2022 Williamson County Fair. Her work can be found as part of the Metro Arts Lending Library collection, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN) art collection, and in the homes of various art collectors and friends. What started out as a fun hobby has blossomed into a skill that she hopes to use full-time in the future.

Nadine is a proud mom of her daughter who is a high school senior. She is also the Department Chair of the Computer Science and Data Science Department at the School of Applied Computational Sciences at Meharry Medical College. She has special interest in the pros and cons of generative artificial intelligence research as it affects visual artists. She is the author of two books – Hello Beautiful (self-published, 2018) and Data Analytics with Splunk 9.x (Packt Publishing, 2023). She also teaches the occasional art class on demand.

When not at work, Nadine can be found listening to mystery audiobooks while working on her drawings. Her work can be seen on her website and social media @charcoalattebynadine.


Submit your work to be considered for an art exhibition in our Art Gallery. All media of art will be considered: sculpture, paintings, photography, costume or textile, etc.  


Each exhibition includes a complimentary Artist Reception that takes place on the opening night of one of our main stage shows.

Contact with questions regarding the Art Gallery and other programs.

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