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nashville public art

No art left behind

Jerry’s Artarama

Of course an art supply store has a mural. This is particularly true if that art supply store is in Nashville. When the Nashville branch of Jerry’s Aratama moved from Antioch to East Nashville two years ago, it acquired a mural even before it opened. The mural appropriately features many of the colors you might want to create art from, pouring out of tubes of the primary colors, red, blue and…wait, yellow? Ok, not actually the primary colors. But you can get green from blue and yellow, so close enough. The main mural is a joint work by Hannah Holgate, who has been on this blog before, and Marshall Hall, who is making his debut here. Both Holgate and Hall work in the frame shop at this store. I live in this neighborhood, and pass this mural every day, so why has it taken two years to put this very obvious mural on the blog? I got pictures of it a long time ago, but after that, the artists added their signatures, so I needed new ones. And the combination of an empty parking lot and good light eluded me for months. But it is just as well, as I can add the tubes of paint Hall recently put in every parking space (minus the handicapped spaces). There are eighteen in all, and all a little different. This is a very art dense spot, and as a result, this may be the most image dense article on this blog! It’s worth noting that Jerry’s Artarama is a national chain, breaking the rule that national chains don’t so local outdoor art. But of course, this is an art supply chain, and that rule is beginning to break in Nashville anyway. The slideshows below are 1) closeups of the mural and 2) four sets of the paint tubes, running east to west. There are also some signs in the parking lot, painted on artist’s palettes. You might notice some pallets (not the artist kind but the moving stuff kind) in a couple photos – those seem to be a permanent feature of the site.

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Located at 713 Main Street. Obviously, there is parking, though you will inevitably park on top of some art. A good strategy is to get there before they are open (10:00 am every day except Sunday when they open at noon) and park next door.

Follow the yellow brick road

Is Nashville really Oz? It’s certainly an Emerald City in Anthony’s Billups’s mural for The Griff Apartments. The skyline is roughly what you would see looking south from The Griff’s roof, minus the yellow brick road and the poppies and trees. That’s Topgolf off to the left, and of course the Batman Building in the middle. Like the Eiffel Tower for Paris, all images of Nashville’s skyline must have the Batman Building. The brown building on the right is presumably the old meatpacking plant across the street from The Griff, which is in the habit of catching on fire. The mural decorates a utility box that would otherwise just be a concrete slab and is further evidence that more and more, Nashville businesses know they need art. Billups, who is part of Music City Murals, also did some signage in The Griff’s garage that is in a very different style (see slideshow below) from this mural. I could not discern a signature on the mural, but the staff, who informed me who the artist was, said that it is hidden in there somewhere. Maybe if you follow the yellow brick road you’ll find it and the wizard. I’m guessing the wizard lives at the top of the Batman Building.

Yellow Brick mural street art Nashville

 

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Located at 1390 Adams Street. The mural is actually on Taylor Street, on the south side of the building, facing Adams Street. The entrance to the garage is on the north side of the building, and the signs on the first floor. There is some street parking on Adams, and guest parking in The Griif’s parking garage.

Jefferson Street Gateway to Heritage

Like in so many other cities in the United States, when the interstates came to Nashville, the were driven straight through the heart of a vibrant and historic African American neighborhood, the Jefferson Street corridor. As part of The New York Times’s 1619 Project, Princeton historian Kevin M. Kruse spelled out the history of this terrible legacy, focusing on Atlanta but telling a story that applies just as well here. Stitching back together what was torn apart isn’t easy, but the Jefferson Street Gateway to Heritage is an attempt to move in that direction. Jefferson Street is chopped up by interstates twice, but the worst spot is where I-40 sails over almost two blocks, between 26th Avenue and where 24th should be. Perhaps appropriately, it is there where one finds the center of this ongoing Metro-backed beautification process that seeks also to address Jefferson Street’s history. One of the key figures in kick-starting this process was Dr. Learotha Williams, a history professor at Tennesse State University (and colleague of your intrepid blogger). In the first phase, finished in 2012, the design firm Edge led a community-driven process that led to a new plaza under the bridge, featuring columns with plaques honoring various figures from the neighborhood’s history, and a giant mural by James R. Threalkill and Michael McBride. The Jefferson Street this mural shows is geographically fluid (Meharry Medical College is shown next to TSU, not its actual neighbor Fisk University), but fully captures the dynamism of the neighborhood’s past and present. The focus is on Jefferson Street’s deep musical history, which is a recurring theme in other modern Jefferson Street murals, such as the ones featured in Guitar heroes and Back in the Day. The mural also features lost businesses, like the Ritz Theater, while linking to the present with a reference to J.U.M.P., the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership. The historic plaques on the columns (click to see some closeups – this story describes all the people featured) were done by FORMS+SURFACES and the landscape design was done by LOSE Design.

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Jefferson History mural street art Nashville

Located on the north side of the 2400 and 2500 blocks of Jefferson Street. The mural is on the east side of the site. There are also more history-themed columns on nearby blocks of Jefferson. Street parking is available starting at about 2600 Jefferson St.

 

This time in blue

No Selfies mural street art Nashville

There’s also one in pink, which sadly has been recently defaced. They are both tagged #JVNLSCCS which leads to the Juvenile Success Instagram page, which is Adrien Saporiti’s page. Saporiti is also the man behind DCXV and the I Believe in Nashville murals, some of the most Instagrammed and selfied murals in town. Because of its location, this one is a little hard to find and probably won’t attract as many selfies (but will attract some!) and also hopefully will be much less likely to be defaced. It sits on the back of the old Roxy Theater at the corner of Wilburn and Meridian, which is slated to open as a new music venue sometime next year. This small block of vintage buildings has been revived as a commercial district in the last few years, a sign also of the expanding gentrification in this area. There’s a lot packed into “No Selfies.”

Located at 827 Meridian Street. The mural lies on the back of the building, facing the building that houses AMAX Talent. Street parking is available.

With a Capitol View

Graffiti Capitol street art mural Nashville

It’s been a while since I’ve put any “wild” graffiti on the blog, but this one caught my eye recently and I really like it. That skull in the middle of the tag is common in Nashville graffiti. A good example is the one featured in Staying power. This tag was surprisingly difficult to research because it lies in the midst of a massive development project, Capitol View. Capitol View lies on the north side of the part of Charlotte Avenue that was recently renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, centered on 11th Avenue. When fully finished, it will take up six entire blocks running between MLK Blvd and Clinton Street three blocks north, while bordered by George L. Davis Blvd to the west and the railroad that roughly parallels 10th Avenue to the east. And about 10th Avenue – many of us have come to rely on Google Maps to stay up to date, but as of this writing it very much isn’t, (but it might be by the time you click that) and I could not make what I remember seeing jibe with the map. At one time, Gay Street crossed 10th Avenue and went under a railroad bridge to connect to a large, decrepit parking lot. That lot is now “Building E” of Capitol View and has a big sign on it that says “500,” as it’s official address is 500 11th Avenue. And the stretch of 10th that used to run between Nelson Merry Street and Lifeway Plaza? It’s been turned into an almost-finished park, that according to Capitol View’s Master Plan, will apparently be open to the public and linked to the greenway system. To get it, you have to go under the bridge, right where this graffiti is. Which means this graffiti probably counts as endangered art. Check it out soon.

Located just east of 500 11th Avenue. There is a driveway that runs between Lifeway Plaza and Nelson Merry and parallels the railroad, and the underpass where this is found is right in the middle of that stretch. There is an entrance to a parking garage right in front of it where you should able to park as a visitor for short periods of time.

Tattoos of Shed

Some people like their photo taken with wings, but there are undoubtedly some folks who would prefer a couple of heavily muscled tattooed arms in their picture. This three-month-old mural by Tara Marie Aversa (also known as Tarabella Aversa) has those people covered. It’s an appropriate mural for a fitness center. Shed Group Fitness is actually a chain, though four of its seven locations are in Nashville, including the one in Germantown, where this mural is found.  While spare compared to some of Aversa’s other murals, these tattooed arms contain a few of the flowers characteristic of much of her work. There are also some traditional tattoo subjects, like birds, knives and mottos – “Keep Goin” and “Stronger Harder Every Day.” But how many people have tattoos of a cassette tape? No doubt someone does. This isn’t the only mural of flexing arms in town. Put up your dukes! by  Rachel Deeb is found on the side of the Church Street branch of Title Boxing Club near Elliston Place. Those are also tattooed, but not surprisingly, also have boxing gloves on.

Located at 85 Van Buren St, at the corner with Adams Street in a building Shed shares with O-Ku Suhi Nashville. The mural is on the west side of the building, facing a large parking lot. The Cumberland River Greenway is on the other side of the lot. The lot is a pay lot – there is some street parking on Van Buren and Adams. Get your sweat on and enjoy the art!

City Pets

This is a very new mural, finished just about a month ago. I see it on my way to work, but had not been able to photograph it until recently because of all the bright, sunny days we’ve been having – and all the shadows that go with them! This parade of pets on the side of City Pets Animal Care is the work of Leah Boorse. From the looks of her page, human portraiture is her main theme, but she also does a lot of pet portraits, which makes her a natural to bring art to a veterinary care center. Besides pets, there is a very obvious homage to the “I Believe in Nashville” murals by Adrien Saporiti of DCXV Industries in the center of the mural. (The only one of those murals on my blog so far is actually a copycat!) I photographed this mural at an angle because of a chain-link fence that interferes with a straight-on view (see below). And up above the mural, Boorse painted the City Pets logo on a second-floor window (see below).

Boorse has done some other murals, notably a quite different one from this in Deep Ellum. Deep Ellum is a neighborhood of bars and restaurants just east of downtown Dallas that can only be described as “mural intense.” Think 12 South on steroids. As for the City Pets mural, I scrolled through City Pets’ Instagram page to see if the models for these portraits could be found there and saw no obvious candidates, but plenty of cute pets. City Pets opened in this location about three years ago, when outdoor art in this area was a lot less common. Now it fits well with the expanding outdoor art scene along the Jefferson and Buchanan Street corridors, and come to think of Charlotte as well, a few blocks south. It’s also further evidence of just how common it is becoming for Nashville businesses, notably local Nashville businesses, to see art as a key component of what they do.

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Located at 1016 Jefferson Street. It’s possible to park next door in the parking lot fo Ware’s Barbershop, but a fence prevents direct access to the mural. For that, go to Rev Dr Enoch Jones Boulevard one block north of Jefferson to access City Pets’ parking lot.

Line it up

The tricky part about photographing this Sterbo (aka TerboSterbo) mural is knowing exactly where to stand and how high to hold the camera. Notice that the artist included the two utility poles as part of the installation. I think I did a fairly good job of lining up the lines on the poles with the lines on the wall, but I know I didn’t get it quite right. With the gentrification in Salemtown and Germantown, art has been spreading for a while (including the piece in the most popular post on this blog, ever), but not as much as 12 South or the Gallatin/Main/Five Points region – yet. That this is a more residential area prevents some of that, but some of the condos and apartments have outdoor art, such as the piece in Swoosh! This Sterbo piece is on a decidedly ungentrified place – Plumbers of Nashville, which despite that link doesn’t have its own internet presence or is even found on Google maps. But now they have a very colorful wall.

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Located at 1800 5th Avenue North. The mural actually faces Buchanan Street, near the middle of the 400 block. Street parking is available.

Topgolf

Top Golf mural street art Nashville

The Topgolf complex off Jefferson Street on the banks of the Cumberland is an enormous entertainment complex. It is only appropriate then that it has an enormous work of art, courtesy of Nathan Brown. I have referred to the style above in the past as Brown’s “colorful geometry problem” style, but I now know he calls it his “geometric gradient style.” This one is more organic than others in this style, such as the one featured in Rainbow pizza, looking strongly like some kind of flower or tree. It sits on a 35×20 ft wall that’s part of The Cowan, Topgolf Nashville’s live performance venue. Note that Topgolf is a national chain. I’ve stated many times that national chains don’t do outdoor art, as it clashes with their branding. But more and more, art is part of the cost of doing business in Nashville. Brown apparently had complete freedom to create his own design. On his website, you can watch a video about its creation and see a number of other photos, including some that were taken from a higher vantage point. Notice the two electric scooters on the side? I had to move about five scooters out of the way that were parked in front of the mural before I photographed it.

Located at 500 Cowan Street, near where Jefferson Street intersects with I-24. The mural is on the northeast side of the building, facing the parking lot. Topgolf has an enormous parking lot, but you may have difficulties parking there at peak hours.

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