History of The Chestnut Group

What’s in the Name?

In 2001, Kim Barrick went to Connie Ericson, her first “plein air” instructor, and suggested forming a Nashville group of painters similar to a group of California artists that had inspired Kim, known as the “The Oak Group”. Connie, who became the group’s first president, liked the idea and pulled in members of the newly formed Cumberland Society along with Kim’s many artist friends to form a not for profit “The Chestnut Group.”

Both founders were very familiar with the devastating loss to American forests sustained with the Chestnut blight’s arrival from overseas.  That ecological event wiped out nearly 4 billion chestnut trees from our landscapes. Recognizing the need to stay vigilant against taking our local landscapes and natural assets for granted, the “chestnut” captured the spirit of preservation and conservation elevating the visibility of the natural and historic landscapes of Middle Tennessee. 

A culture values what is reflected in its artistic statements. Over the past 20 years, The Chestnut Group has collaborated with valued local partners sharing the same vision of preserving fragile local environments, threatened habitats, and protected natural areas. While offering artists the opportunity to explore the advantages of painting outdoors, the membership has raised close to a half-million dollars through the sales of work to protect open spaces, waterways, and historic landmarks and structures from commercial development.  What they have not successfully aided in protecting through awareness and financial support, they have documented in their art as a witness to the cost of indifference.