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The Groove - A space for local creatives
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There is a desperate need for more spaces in McMinnville where the local creative community can display and perform their art, view and listen to entertainment and gather together. 

The Sip and Savour tasting and art show is happening Saturday, and although this is a great opportunity for businesses and artists, this event only happens once a year with tickets costing $40. 

A few places which provide entertainment include Collins River BBQ’s once-a-month singer-songwriter night, Smooth Rapids’ yearly Reggae at Smooth Rapids and live music at the restaurant during summer weekends. Main Street Live occurs every Friday during the summer months. 

Cumberland Caverns has concerts, Warren Arts holds plays and Park Theater has theatrical productions and music throughout the year. I am giving credit to the community for these artistic events being held, but there’s not one designated location for a gathering spot for local creatives with a variety of artistry that’s open throughout the year. 

In certain areas of Nashville, such as the East side, and places in Chattanooga, there are many locations dedicated to the arts and those in the artistic community. I fully understand McMinnville is not like Nashville or Chattanooga in size or culture; however, I do believe we could take note of what these cities are offering to the many artists, singers, songwriters, poets, photographers and others wanting to display their talents and socialize with other individuals interested in the arts. 

I’d love to see a place dedicated to the diverse creative locals in town, allowing them to come together, showcase their work and enjoy each other’s company any time of year. 

During my earlier years in high school, Cappalano's Cafe was my go-to spot to grab coffee, listen to music and spend time with friends while enjoying the show. We need something similar as a positive addition to McMinnville. 

Creativity is incredibly important to the culture of a place. Having some form of outlet, other than sports or the other typical activities offered, is extremely helpful. Having a space for exploring and encouraging creativity for both the youth and adults provides an opportunity to be part of an entertaining and expressive activity, where a connection with others who have the same talents and likes may occur. 

This may lessen the likelihood of falling into some of the negative and unhealthy situations happening in the community. The city is currently spending millions of dollars on renovating the Civic Center for athletic activities, which are important for physical and mental health. 

However, artistic expression is equally important for mental, as well as spiritual health. I think a location should be offered by the city or a business to provide a gathering space for the individuals in our creative community who play a major role in expressing the beauty and uniqueness of our city with their sounds, colors, tastes, stories and more.

Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.