Anode Inc. Looks Ahead After 25 Years

IN MID-OCTOBER, DIGITAL MEDIA company Anode Inc. celebrated its 25th anniversary with a swath of high-tech diversions at its 926 Main St. headquarters. Besides analog food and drinks, there was a virtual reality puzzle for guests to complete, an “LED meadow” installation, and a display of reactive lighting, all showcasing the company’s expertise in interactive digital media.
     In its 25-year history, which began in founder and president Mark Magnuson’s house on Fairwin Avenue, Anode has focused on a combination of marketing materials for corporate clients and interactive experiences for schools, museums, and libraries. It developed a digital display for the Nashville Public Library Foundation that pairs donor names with the initiatives they have supported and an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame that allows visitors to record and email their own versions of hit songs.
     “We’ve always been focused on using computer technology to help tell stories,” Magnuson says.
     Anode’s first official office was on the corner of Fifth and Broadway, but it was forced out to make room for Bridgestone Arena and the then-burgeoning NHL expansion team. The company bounced around Broadway locations for 18 years before getting pushed out by the increase in tourism. “Personally, I moved to East Nashville in 1987,” Magnuson says. “I used to live off of West End in the Richland area, and I was looking for a much more diverse neighborhood because I wanted to be stimulated by a diverse culture that I was just not getting in that part of town. It was just a lot freer over here.”
     Encouraged by his personal experience, Magnuson found a former diesel engine repair shop and transformed it into a studio space for his business. “I think one of the things I’m most proud of is being a part of East Nashville and to see all of the development,” he says. “There have been lots of pioneers in East Nashville when you think about the music industry. We’re just proud to join the ranks, being a graphic design studio of our size and caliber.”
     With a sense of responsibility to its home, Anode has made several local philanthropic efforts. It supports East Nashville Athletics, formerly the East Nashville Little League, with pro bono work. It has also been involved in the beautification of Main Street, planting more than 20 trees and replacing the asphalt on its property with a courtyard garden.
     “We wanted to be part of the revitalization,” Magnuson explains. “There are many businesses now that are really trying to put a better spin on the look and feel to continue to make East Nashville people proud to be from East Nashville.