cano & esen ozgener

2017 Culture shapers


Natives of Turkey, Cano and Esen Ozgener came to Nashville in the 1960s  and have contributed to its entrepreneurial, economic, and artistic richness for almost 50 years.

In 1968, Cano founded CAO International, building the small, Nashville-based company into an internationally renowned purveyor of artisanal cigars. The Ozgeners sold CAO in 2007 and six years later, found their calling as curators of contemporary art, establishing OZ Arts Nashville in 2013. The art venue focuses on modern art in all its forms - from dance to theater to music - and places a special emphasis on bringing international artists to the city, shaping our cultural landscape and making Nashville a truly great, global city.

It is OZ that the Ozgeners hope will be their legacy, shaping the cultural and artistic landscape of Nashville and giving back to the city and country that welcomed them as immigrants.