Franklin, TN Arts and Culture Overview

By Laura Hill on May 1, 2014 at 6:00 am EST
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PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Conti

The arts abound in Williamson County, where small-town charm meets big talent. Whether it’s a top-notch stage performance or a celebrated gallery, Williamson County has myriad options for arts enthusiasts.

Theater Year Round

Residents of Williamson County flock to the area’s theaters. In 1968, the Pull-Tight Players put on their first production, Our Town. Today, the Players continue to entertain audiences with dramas, musicals, comedies and even original plays. Located on Second Avenue in Franklin in a former church building, the company puts on seven shows a season.

Local theater thrives at the nearby Boiler Room Theatre as well. This 120-seat theater is located at the Factory at Franklin, and is near many restaurant and shopping options. The venue celebrated its 13th season in 2014.

History and theater buffs alike enjoy the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, held each spring in Triune. More than 60 artisans from across the country showcase everything from swords to jewels. The festival lets visitors experience 16thcentury England through food, clothes, music and more.

Gallery Hopping

In the county’s unique art galleries, local artists and nationally celebrated names, who work in a variety of media, share the spotlight. Leiper's Creek Gallery, located in Leiper’s Fork, changes its exhibits for a fresh perspective, and provides a temporary home for the work and workshops of many talented artists. Historic Clouston Hall is home to Gallery 202, which showcases original paintings, art glass, sculpture, artisan jewelry, pottery, woodwork, metal and photography. Clouston Hall, built as a second home for entertaining in 1821, hosted three American presidents. Today it is home to the work of more than 45 artists.

Libraries: More Than Just Books

The county’s two libraries provide a vast selection of both reading material and family-friendly activities, including readings, community events, classes and workshops. The main building of the Williamson County Library is in Franklin, with other branches in Fairview, Leiper’s Fork, Nolensville, Bethesda and College Grove. The library's collection includes books, periodicals, newspapers, eBook, audiobooks, video and audio recordings and much more.

The spacious Brentwood Library includes a collection of more than 165,000 books, as well as audiobooks, DVDs, music CDs, magazines, newspapers and reference databases. Although library membership is free for Brentwood citizens, anyone can access the library for a small fee. The facility’s charming interior features study rooms, a conference room and a large meeting room that can be rented.

Festival Fun

Franklin is home to a series of family-friendly festivals. Dickens of a Christmas, a free street event, was designated a Top 20 event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, features food, music, carriage rides and costumed volunteers who bring classic Charles Dickens characters to life.

The Main Street Festival, in April, is a two-day weekend event featuring music, handmade crafts, food, two kids’ areas and entertainment on three different stages. The Main Street Brew Fest lets festival-goers sample local, national and international brews. Brew Fest, which also features Celtic performers, has sold out in advance the past four years.

Jazz enthusiasts flock to the Franklin Jazz Festival, one of the longest-running jazz festivals in the Southeast. The festival, which celebrated its 24th year in 2013, raises money for the nonprofit Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission while providing live music at the Factory at Franklin. 

Discover more on arts and entertainment in Franklin, Tenn.

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