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NASHVILLE, TN. – Today Cheekwood announced it received a $1 million leadership gift from The Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation for two transformative initiatives that will position the institution for national preeminence: Launching a large-scale holiday lights display in 2015, establishing Cheekwood as a major holiday destination; and beginning significant steps towards the historic restoration of the mansion, further enhancing Cheekwood’s reputation as “one of the finest examples of an American Country Place Era estate in the nation.” Both initiatives are being implemented to increase operational revenue, and each has the potential to draw greater tourism to Nashville.

“On behalf of the leadership and staff of Cheekwood, we are honored and immensely grateful to Andrea Waitt Carlton and the AWC Family Foundation for this extraordinary gift,” said Jane O. MacLeod, President and CEO. “This funding is an investment in Cheekwood’s future as it lays the groundwork for the future historic room restoration of the mansion and provides initial funding to launch a holiday lights display. Both of these efforts are key initiatives underscoring the pillars of Cheekwood’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, which positions Cheekwood not only as a Nashville treasure, but a national treasure.”

Holiday Lighting
In 2015, Cheekwood will illuminate its grounds and bring a new holiday tradition to Nashville with elegant holiday lighting and displays, dazzling visitors by highlighting and enhancing the beauty of our winter landscape. Following its blockbuster evening exhibitions, Chihuly at Cheekwood and LIGHT: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood, coupled with new permanent campus-wide lighting now in place, Cheekwood is uniquely positioned as an evening destination during the winter holiday season. With this special programmatic addition, Cheekwood will join the company of other leading institutions that annually offer holiday lighting, including Longwood Gardens, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Denver Botanic Garden.

Historic Restoration of the Mansion
The historic restoration of the mansion, an initiative to develop and implement the furnishing and interpretation of the mansion’s lower levels, is conceived as a multi-year process. With oral histories and archival research already underway, Cheekwood plans to furnish select rooms on the second level of the mansion with 1930s reproduction furniture to represent the American Country Place Era lifestyle.

In order to gather a variety of perspectives and expertise for this initiative, Cheekwood will host a historic advisory council for a planning symposium comprised of experts and leaders in decorative arts, historic interiors/homes, museum practice, and interpretation.

Concurrent with the room restoration plan, Cheekwood will further develop a dynamic interpretative program that will build on ongoing archival research to better understand the Cheek family. With Cheekwood’s leadership, there is the opportunity to produce an authoritative publication on the Cheek family, contextualizing Bryant Fleming’s influence and Cheekwood’s place in the American Country Place Era movement. Interpretative elements such as a short documentary film, docents in costume, period music, and an exhibition on American Country Place Era estates, would bring the Cheek family legacy to life.

About Cheekwood
Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. Our mission is to preserve Cheekwood as an historical landmark where beauty and excellence in art and horticulture stimulate the mind and nurture the spirit.

Cheekwood presents world-class art exhibitions, showcases breathtaking gardens, and offers education programs and seasonal festivals to school children and families as well as to the citizens of Nashville and its visitors. Its attendance and membership have dramatically increased in recent years, and the institution has become an increasingly accessible and relevant place in the Nashville community. In 2013, Cheekwood welcomed over 300,000 visitors, making us one of the city’s top cultural attractions, with approximately 12,000 member households.

Cheekwood is located at 1200 Forrest Park Drive in Nashville, 8 miles southwest of downtown Nashville. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday nights May – October, open until 10 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, seniors $12 and children 3-17 are $7. Parking is $3 per car. For further information call 615-356-8000 or visit

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