The men with the 'Midas touch'
David Taylor and Michael Ward have helped shape Nashville's landscape both literally and figuratively since they met 19 years ago.
Together they have created successful businesses, volunteered hundreds of hours of volunteer service to a variety of community groups and, on numerous occasions, have opened up their self-designed home to provide meeting space for a number of fundraising and community events.
"We were in our early twenties when we met, so in many ways we’ve grown up together," Taylor said. As they've grown, the men have left their mark on many landmarks and lives.
Ward is a partner in the architectural firm Allard Ward Architects and has won dozens of awards for his work. Recent projects include the renovation of the downtown YMCA and the master plan and several buildings for Currey Ingram Academy.
Taylor is the co-owner of Tribe and Play Dance Bar, two landmarks in the Nashville's gay nightlife scene which Ward helped redesign in recent months.
Changing the face of Nashville's gay scene, Tribe, which Taylor and his business partner, Keith Blaydes, opened in 2002, was named “Nashville’s first Mainstream Gay Bar” by the Tennessean and has been consistently named Nashville’s “Best Gay Bar” by the Nashville Scene. Play, which was opened with business partners Blaydes, Todd Roman, and Joe Brown, has been named “Best Place to Dance” by the Scene every year since it opened in 2004.
When not running their respective businesses, both men are heavily involved in giving back to the community. In 2000, they co-chaired Artrageous 13 which netted more than $175,000 for Nashville Cares and have since been heavily involved in the Human Rights Campaign and Nashville Pride (among many other groups) finding ways to donate their time, talents and their services.
In 2007, Taylor was elected to the national Board of Directors of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation’s largest GLBT Political Action Committee whose sole purpose is to help elect GLBT people to public office. He is currently co-chair of the Victory Fund Campaign Board’s Nominating Committee.
Later this month, both men will be honored for their work during the annual HRC Equality Dinner in Nashville - not that they necessarily expected the accolades.
“We’ve never looked at our work as giving back," Taylor said. "It always seems to us that we get more than we give – in both new friendships and the satisfaction that you’ve worked with a group of people to achieve a common goal. Everything we do is fun for us, and if it helps make Nashville a better city then that’s an added bonus.”