We came to Nashville in the mid 90’s from Los Angeles. I am an illustrator of stationery design, and an abstract painter. Coming from sunny California where the weather at that time was glorious most of the year, we loved the different seasons that Nashville offered with the beautiful gardens and nature surrounding us, which brought us to the beauty of Cheekwood.Eileen Tomson | Cheekwood Member since 1995
Eileen Tomson is passionate about Cheekwood, as we learned when she stopped by to share her enthusiasm during a Member Appreciation Day event. She commented that “Cheekwood is minutes away from our home and we enjoy the grounds with friends and their children. Now with the new Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden, it is even more exciting to stroll around and see the turtles, the well-designed train express; and seeing other young children finding their joy with what Cheekwood brings to all of us.” This brief conversation piqued our interest and following our visit, we reached out to Eileen to learn more about her membership experience.
What inspired you to become a Cheekwood member?
When I saw all the various programs, art and music that Cheekwood has to offer I was very excited to become a member with all those benefits. I love to walk the sculpture trail, meet friends for Thursday Night Out, and bring out-of-state friends to share the beauty of Cheekwood.
What is your favorite time of year at Cheekwood?
It would be hard to pick a favorite season, since all seasons have such fun events. We love the daffodils of spring, the pumpkins of fall, the Christmas lights in winter, and all the concerts with food trucks that summer has to offer. So, I would have to answer all four seasons!
Which gardens, areas, or plants do you enjoy most when visiting Cheekwood, and why?
I love the Blevins Japanese Garden, the tulips and daffodils, but my new love is walking the labyrinth in The Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden, such a nice way to be silent, hold space for yourself, and meditate.
Do you have a favorite piece of art at Cheekwood or a favorite art exhibition Cheekwood has hosted? If so, what is it and what did you like about it?
I feel so fortunate to have enjoyed all the amazing exhibits that you continue to bring to Cheekwood! Chihuly, Bruce Munro, Jaume Plensa, Art Hop, Cracking Art, Art Bark, Carmen Herrera, and of course all the permanent and changing installations inside the Cheekwood mansion. I try to attend Otsukimi, the annual Japanese Moon Viewing festival, and learn the art of Japanese calligraphy and the beautiful dance of the culture. My personal favorite piece of art is The Glass Bridge by American, Iran-born artist, Siah Armajani. So magical to walk through it.
Eileen’s fondness for Cheekwood inspires her to share her experiences with her daughter. Together, they have created decades of notable moments with more to come. We continued our conversation with a request for Eileen to share one of her favorite memories involving Cheekwood; and we asked a few more questions.
Some of my favorite memories of Cheekwood are sharing all the special times with my daughter, Nicole. Nicole first started coming to Cheekwood as a toddler and still enjoys the gardens and the museum at 31 years of age. We attend the Christmas lights every year in awe, we enjoy the pumpkin houses, and of course all the dog special events. Every year, I have my standing date of a Golden Doodle named Sully, who loves to walk the grounds and sit to the sounds of music in the air.
Cheekwood offers many programs and activities that our members really enjoy. What are some that you or your family have especially enjoyed, and why?
My personal favorites are the Wellness Classes. To do yoga in the garden, sound bath in the Japanese Gardens and Tai Chi. Although Nicole has grown up, the children’s summer camps are wonderful. Many years ago, I taught art classes for the young children in the stable area. When Nicole was in grade school, she celebrated her birthday with a ceramic birthday party in the stables.
How would you encourage others to become Cheekwood members?
I chat up Cheekwood all the time, and my exuberance has led to several friends signing up for a membership. Word of mouth has always worked for me. As you can see, Cheekwood is my second home!
Join Cheekwood today and experience the unrivaled beauty of Nashville’s landmark country estate. Members can enjoy inspiring art and garden exhibitions, family activities, programming for all ages, world-class music events, and year-round festivals celebrating the four seasons.