GLBT cultural center planned near Church Street


Nashville will soon be getting a GLBT cultural center that organizers hope will function as a hub for the GLBT community, much like a community center but with a slightly different mission.

“Some of us have dreamed about a new center for the GLBT community,” said Jim Hawk, executive director and board member of the new cultural center.

Hawk was previously involved for several years with the now defunct Center for GLBT Life in Nashville. It has taken several years since the passing of that organization and the more recent passing of the Rainbow Community Center (RCC) for the new cultural center plans to become a reality.

Approximately $6,000 of the seed money for the new cultural center came from monies left after the dissolving of the RCC and its governing board. Control of those dollars have been transfered to the board of the new cultural center.

Hawk said Out Central Inc. will open a cultural enter somewhere in the Church street area. A search is underway for a location on or near Church Street that will house the center as well as offer desk space and a conference room to groups and individuals for rental on a day, month or yearly basis.

“The cultural center’s mission is all about you,” Hawk said. “The cultural center will provide a home for the birth, nurture and celebration of GLBTQIF organizations, institutions, culture and individuals: care for our individuals and groups in need; educate the public and our community; and empower individuals and groups to achieve their fullest potential.”

Other members of the board of directors include: Lloyd Lewis, moderator; Stephanie Brooks Barger, vice-moderator; Julia McAninch, Kate Nelson and Mary Catherine Nelson.

Within the next few months an advisory council will be formed that will include community leaders, donors and space users. That group will be used to audit financials of the center and make recommendations. The board has incorporated the organization with Tennessee and the organization is chartered and has 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.

Out Central Inc. has an extensive list of core values, from a commitment to the community and respect for individuals to support of other groups. They are also committed to an earth-friendly (green) environment.

“Out Central is primarily a cultural center and is not, in and of itself, a social service agency or crisis counseling agency. We will provide care and referral to those in need and/or crisis,” Hawk said.

One of the goals of the new cultural center is to supply needed meeting and office space for community groups. Hawk said they also will support other events as they arise such as concerts, conferences, lectures, theatre and movies, panel discussions and celebrations of interest to the GLBT community.

For more information or to get involved, email Hawk at [email protected].