Dear Members, Volunteers and Friends,
Cheekwood’s momentum continues with this month’s much-anticipated renovation of the Frist Learning Center, our hub of education, exploration, and discovery. This exciting renovation and accompanying enhancements have been made possible by a very generous $4 million gift from The Frist Foundation to The Cheekwood Campaign, our first major fundraising initiative in nearly 20 years. To date, over $22 million has been raised toward this unprecedented effort to fund endowment, restoration, capital reserves and revenue initiatives integral to Cheekwood’s long-term Master Site Plan.
Located in the building which originally served as the Cheek family’s horse stables and garages, the Frist Learning Center was created in the late 1990s with support from the Frist Foundation to accommodate Cheekwood’s year-round educational and public programming, including art activities and demonstrations, classes and camps, workshops and exhibitions and, most recently, the Martin Shallenberger Artist in Residence.
The current renovation will include the creation of a new café, additional meeting and retail space, refurbished art studios and classrooms as well as new interpretative areas that extend upon this summer’s 1930s era refurnishing of the Cheekwood Mansion.
While progress ensues, the Frist Learning Center will be temporarily closed during the renovation, and programs normally held in the Center, including Tuesdays for Tots, will be suspended until the Center reopens in April 2018. Plans for a Grand Reopening celebration are underway!
Among the many enhancements of the renovation, we are especially excited about the new Courtyard Café that will feature expanded hours from 9 am to 3 pm and a quick casual menu of soups, sandwiches, salads, baked goods, coffee selections and alcoholic beverages.
The new Courtyard Café is much needed as it has become cost prohibitive to continue operating the aging building which currently houses the Pineapple Room Restaurant and adjacent Gift Shop, both of which will close to the public permanently in January 2018. The building will be removed shortly thereafter. We are grateful to Cheekwood members and visitors who have frequented the Pineapple Room over the years to enjoy its ambiance and garden views, and know it will be greatly missed.
Prior to its closing on January 1, we invite you to enjoy lunch in the Pineapple Room Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am to 2 pm through November 23. During Holiday and Holiday LIGHTS festivals beginning November 24, we will offer the following days and hours in the Pineapple Room and Gift Shop:
- Dinner available Tuesday through Sunday, 5 to 9 pm
- Holiday Tea available Thursday and Friday at 2 pm (reservations required)
- Lunch available Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 2 pm
Cheekwood will not offer food service onsite during January and February 2018. Beginning in March, a variety of food truck vendors will be onsite daily during the Cheekwood in Bloom festival, and on select days throughout the summer and fall, after the Courtyard Café is open to the public.
Cheekwood’s long-term Master Plan calls for a Visitor Center & Conservatory that will provide space for an additional full-service restaurant in future years. In the interim, the Courtyard Café will serve as Cheekwood’s food services venue. Plans are currently in development for a future outdoor amphitheater that will encompass the site of the current Pineapple Room and Gift Shop building and augment the redesigned Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail, scheduled to debut in 2020.
The Cheekwood Mansion Gift Shop that opened as part of the 2017 refurnishing project will remain open, and the Frist Learning Center renovation will provide for a second retail site, featuring gardening and garden accessories as well as children’s items to complement the 2019 opening of the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden, directly across from the Frist Learning Center.
All of these exciting developments and corresponding changes are part of the Cheekwood Board-approved long-term Master Site Plan conducted by Reed Hilderbrand and completed in 2016, and our current five-year strategic plan, aptly titled, FAST FORWARD: Cheekwood in Pursuit of National Preeminence (Part II: 2017 -2021).
Cheekwood’s momentum remains strong as funds raised through The Cheekwood Campaign and the support of members, donors, and friends like you help to preserve and enhance this extraordinary cultural treasure! Should you have any questions or concerns, or are interested in continuing the momentum at Cheekwood through a gift to The Cheekwood Campaign, please direct those to TheCampaign@cheekwood.org.
Jane O. MacLeod