By Kat Dobay
Ryan Noble is the owner of SOMETIMES, located in Madison, Tennessee amongst auto repair shops on Brawner Ave. SOMETIMES is a modern art gallery, event space, creator studios, and lounge that facilitates a multidisciplinary atmosphere. Even though it is on an inconspicuous side street filled with automobiles it is becoming my new favorite venues in the Nashville area. Ryan moved from Sarasota, Florida in 2016. He was working a corporate job in marketing/advertising but decided that Nashville was where he wanted to be. After just a couple visits Ryan was drawn to the visually and musically creative community. He stuck with advertising for his first four years in Nashville and continued doing art on the side. He began renting a small studio space and when his landlords had a larger space available he decided to pursue art full-time. Ryan described this part of his journey as diving straight in, really without a second thought.
The bigger space is an opportunity to get more artists involved, and Ryan was inspired to see what he could create in this space. A big part of his job in marketing/advertising was going out and getting to know people in the area. He had been doing the same thing in his personal life and with art by going out to events and meeting other artists or creatives. So when he was thinking about transitioning he figured he could use his skills and connections to do things he was passionate about. As far as running a business goes, it’s an essential skill to go out and meet people, either to meet new clients (musicians, dancers, artists) or just get the word out about what he’s doing. There’s always a need to find new people to support the space with their time or money. In the beginning Ryan admits that he didn’t really know what he was doing. It just felt right and like an opportunity for him to do art full-time.
It certainly hasn’t been easy, Ryan said he now lives a more bohemian lifestyle. Ryan had been spending most of his day at SOMETIMES—cleaning and getting ready for each event. He finally decided that he was tired of making the commute. He now has a twin-sized bed tucked away in a closet and practically lives on the property. Ryan plans on living at SOMETIMES for at least the next three months. By sleeping at the event space he saves time and increases productivity. He is constantly cleaning, painting, setting up events, meeting new clients, and booking new tenants. “Most of our events happen on the weekend so during the week we promote events and get prepped for them.” There’s usually a list of things to do that week, and other than that it’s just things in between. Since the space is so versatile, every week is a bit different.
When SOMETIMES started out it wasn’t supposed to be a music venue. The front is a dance space for performances/practices, and the back is a gallery/studio space for artists. Ryan creates individualized stage or gallery setups based on what the artist(s) envision; every time you enter the space it’s different. “There was no set plan on this place, it’s very pliable, we wanted the space to be able to transform into any artists’ motive,” Ryan said.
The first SOMETIMES show was on April 10th, 2020. It was their grand opening gallery show/fundraising event with five DJs (Molly Manella, Maggie Vanderbilt, Stasney, Mageg Music, and Adrienne Ervin) and Dylan Smucker, a country artist. To their surprise there was a huge turnout with over 100 people. After the initial event, it was so successful they hosted a number of other shows. Ryan realized that hosting shows in the space could be a consistent way to bring in money for the passion project. When a couple shows didn’t turn out as successful, he decided on outsourcing shows. This was a way to bring in new patrons without being hands on with something he had virtually no experience in. When Conne, now the general manager of SOMETIMES, came into the equation, she began coordinating these outsourced live music events.
As of now SOMETIMES is not a fully equipped venue, they host private events like dance performances, gallery shows, and rent the space as “a cool place to play music.” Ryan mentioned that they host a homeless church every Sunday for 2-3 hours. A community program rents the space to pass out care packages and a meal. Going forward Ryan wants to host things like dance classes or art nights, things to bring the community together. SOMETIMES is focused on building up the community rather than pushing people out.