The Frist Art Museum presents Elise Kendrick: Salon Noir, a micro-exhibit celebrating the beauty of African American women, their unique hairstyles, and the black salon experience through the works of Nashville artist Elise Kendrick. Presented at the museum from August 12 to December 31, 2022, the exhibition offers an immersive experience within a common and accessible space.

Housed in the elevator just inside the museum’s Ninth Avenue entrance adjacent to the Grand Lobby, the Salon Noir takes advantage of a location never before used to display artwork at Frist. The elevator’s interior walls will feature vinyl prints derived from five of Kendrick’s portraits. Guests entering the space will find themselves immersed in depictions of hairstyles and black hair care products.

Under the direction of student curator Jonathan Diggs, Salon Noir is the first micro-exhibition designed as part of Project Uplift, an internship designed to provide a student or recent graduate of a historically black in Nashville the opportunity to organize, design, market, and develop a program for a micro-exhibition featuring a local artist of color.

Kendrick hopes her work will spark conversations about common perceptions and misconceptions surrounding black hair: “With this series, my intention is to allow my subjects to feel seen, to take up space, and to show that women of color are not monolithic.” Diggs adds, “Hairstyles and barbershops are a big part of black culture. Salon Noir showcases the different ways black women maintain their hair with pride and elegance.

The Project Uplift internship was designed to distill the curatorial process into a short period of time so that students can become familiar with all aspects of planning an exhibition. While typical museum exhibits can take years to plan, a Project Uplift micro-exhibit is condensed into three months. “Working with all departments of the Frist and receiving their advice and guidance along the way has given me a great appreciation for the work of museum professionals,” says Diggs. “As a graphic designer, I see how important communication is when translating curatorial ideas into a real exhibit. Luckily, I was able to do both with this internship. Project Uplift has really reshaped my thought process for the best around design and teamwork.”


Thursday August 18
Salon Noir Opening Night
6:00-8:00 p.m.
large hall

Join us in celebrating the opening of Elise Kendrick: Salon Noir. Learn about the exhibition from artist Elise Kendrick and student curator Jonathan Diggs, enjoy live music and more!

Mildred D. Field