The Conservancy's mission is to preserve, enhance and share the Parthenon and Centennial Park so that all future generations may benefit from these enriching cultural and educational landmarks.
The Conservancy began as The Athena Fund in 1982, when nickels and dimes were collected by schoolchildren and adult visitors to pay for the creation of the statue Athena. Upon completion of this project in 1990, we became Parthenon Patrons. In 2005, the Board voted to expand the mission and scope of our work to include Centennial Park, and since 2009 the organization has been called The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park. Today, The Conservancy is responsible for a range of initiatives aimed at maintaining the park’s vibrancy, including Musicians Corner, free weekly concerts in the spring and fall months, and the Centennial Park restoration project to revitalize and transform the park into a model of ecological practice and horticultural excellence. Through fundraisers and private donations, The Conservancy oversees educational programs, public art exhibits, performing arts, a speaker’s bureau, symposia, classical theatre, docent training at the Parthenon and preservation of Centennial Park’s landmarks. Although we are a separately chartered foundation with an IRS designation as a §501(c)(3) organization, The Conservancy was organized with the cooperation of the Metro Parks & Recreation Department.
The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park serves
as a fund-raising partner of Nashville’s Parks and Recreation
Department. We create opportunities for the public to contribute to and
participate in the operations and growth of the Parthenon and the Park, to
guarantee their future for generations of Nashville citizens and visitors from
around the world. The Conservancy provides financial support to the Parthenon’s
art exhibits, educational opportunities and docent educational program which
provides quality docents to conduct tours that enhance the visitor’s
It is difficult to overstate the impact of the Parthenon and Centennial Park on the city of Nashville and on the quality of life of the Park’s neighbors. Opened in 1903 as a public park, Centennial Park is Nashville’s iconic park. The Centennial Park Master Plan adopted in 2010 reprioritizes green space to accommodate festivals, musical performances and recreation while also providing users with a respite from the urbanizing landscapes that surround the Park. In 2015, we celebrated the completion of the first phase of improvements to the Park which focused on the cleaning of Lake Watauga and the day-lighting of Cockrill Spring to provide a source of water essential to the revitalization of the Park.
I first became actively involved with the Nashville Parthenon over 10 years ago when I became a docent and a speaker for the Parthenon Speakers Bureau, a program that provides lecturers to local groups on various topics related to the Parthenon. I continue to serve as a Parthenon docent and speaker and am passionate about sharing this Nashville treasure. After serving as a docent for 7 years, I became a member of the Conservancy Board and served as Secretary for 2 years. In 2015, I was honored to become the Board Chair. I prioritized my efforts to focus the passion of our Board members in a direction that will result in improved cultural opportunities at the Parthenon and the continued implementation of the Master Plan for the restoration and revitalization of the Park.
The Conservancy’s challenge is to provide an effective framework for the private sector to participate in the investment of this important city park. The Conservancy’s capital campaign for funding the next improvements in the Park, in partnership with Metro Nashville, is underway. The Board is diligently working to increase the forward momentum to elevate Centennial Park into an urban green space for the future. - Paula Van Slyke
Musicians Corner is a central point in Centennial Park, free and open to all, where Nashville gathers to perform and enjoy its music. Music in all forms. Music to entertain us, build bridges within our community, welcome our visitors and connect us with the world. The program supports emerging artists and provides inclusive arts enrichment to our community. Musicians Corner presents its free music events in partnership with the Mayor's Office, Metro Parks, and the local music industry. Musicians Corner has showcased over 1,000 artists since its inception in 2010, including legends like Vince Gill, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Emmylou Harris, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Dr. Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. Musicians Corner's 2017 Season takes place in May, June, August, and September. Visit musicianscornernashville.com for details.
The Conservancy supports both changing
exhibits and the permanent collection at the Parthenon. The permanent
collection consists of late 19th-early 20th century American paintings,
regional contemporary work, and objects related to the Centennial Exposition of
1897, and the program includes conservation/restoration care and costs related
to updates and regular wear and tear. The changing exhibits program is designed
to focus on art, architecture, and archaeology. For 2017, temporary exhibitions
include 1) James M. Cowan Collection
Rejoined, 2) Gone South: the Photography
of Jerry Atnip and 3) Her Tennessee
Home: The Paintings of Camille Engel. Exhibits planned for the Parthenon’s
West Gallery in 2017 are 1) Memory
Fragments: the Art of Pre-Columbian West Mexico and 2) A
Day at the Fair with the Ewing Centennial Collection.
Former board member with the organization with over 10 years of active involvement. Executive Committee of Regional Board, Anti-Defamation League, 1989-Present; Chair of Jewish Foundation of Middle TN, 2005-2007; Nashville Symphony Ball Committee Chair, 2005; Nashville Children's Theatre, 1993-1998; Executive Board, United Jewish Appeal's National Young Leadership Cabinet, 1984-98; Special Liaison to National Infant Death Syndrome Foundation, 1985-1989.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
As Middle Tennesseans, we are fortunate to live in a state that is rich with wildlife, rolling hills, and open landscapes. As Nashville grows and expands, it is vital that we protect our land, air and water for future generations.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215