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nashville public art

No art left behind

Perseverance

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Or at least that’s what the dedicatory plaque calls it. But on the Norf Art Collective’s project page for this mural, it’s called “Family Matters.” No matter, it’s rather impressive either way. Put up last November, it honors Diane Nash, Curlie McGruder, Z. Alexander Looby, and John Lewis. I let the Tenessee Tribune explain who they are:

Curlie McGruder was a tremendous supporter of Nash and Lewis as they led the desegregation of Nashville lunch counters with sit-ins and organized the “Freedom Rides” in the Jim Crow South. E. Alexander Looby was a lawyer and in this capacity he protected many Civil Rights activists…John Lewis was a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement and has recently toured the United States speaking about his experience and the changes he played a part in making.

The small plaque on the right side dedicates the mural to Rev. Bill Barnes, a longtime affordable housing advocate who died just a few months before the mural went up. It’s fitting then that the mural is found on the side of an Urban Housing Solutions property, a private non-profit that builds and administers affordable housing. The mural is yet another project sponsored by the local office of Google Fiber.

There’s a video from the Norf Art Collective page showing the mural going up.

Located at 2615 Clarksville Pike. The mural is located on the Northwest side of the building. There is a fair amount of parking behind the building and much more at a small shopping complex across and south a bit the street on 26th Avenue. People live here, so be respectful.

 

Another departure

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In what seems to be a new, ongoing series, yet another entry to file under “artwork endangered because the business is moving.” While the first two entries are from Yazoo Brewery’s building on Division Street, this time we are at Grimey’s New and Preloved Music, which will be decamping from 8th Street and moving to Trinity Road this fall. The building Grimey’s is in sold to a new owner, whose plans do not seem to include the iconic record store and music venue. All of which puts the future of this mural in question. Found on the patio of what used to be a branch of Frothy Monkey that shared space with Grimey’s, it’s a DCXV production. DCXV is the business home of Adrien Saporiti, whose best-known murals are the “I Believe in Nashville” murals scattered around town. Here we see a stack of amplifiers, maybe some turntables, and a couple of plastic crates filled with records (one of which has the DCXV signature). If you look close on the far right, you’ll see a coffee cup with the Frothy Monkey logo on it. File all of this under “endangered art.”

Located at 1604 Eighth Avenue South. The mural lies on the south side of the building, easily visible from the road if you are driving north. There is limited parking in front, more in back. Grab some records and some souvenirs while there is still time and enjoy the art!

 

Yazoo Brewery, Michael Cooper edition

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This giant Yazoo Brewery tank is something of a landmark on Division Street, but it’s a landmark that will be gone soon enough. Yazoo announced some time ago that they would be moving to a new site, and now that they have purchased land in Madison, all that’s left is finalizing the sale of their Gulch property. It’s unclear what will happen to this tank, painted by Michael Cooper of Murals and More, or the Herb Williams panels on the west side of the building. Hopefully, they will make the move as well. The logo on the front of the building, also by Cooper, will, of course, be lost. (See below, along with shots of the tank from other angles.)

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Located at 910 Division Street. Yazoo has a small amount of its own parking, and much of the paid parking in the Gulch area is one hour free. Get your last call at the Division St. site and enjoy the art!

Four Roses

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Ah, the obtrusive fencing. Not every work of art comes with clean sight lines. This mural is found at the Germantown Pub, where you can also find the mural featured in Now I know my ABCs!. That mural is on a long board overlooking the parking lot on the south side of the building, while this mural is on the northern end of the building. It’s a Music City Murals project, business home of the artists Anthony Billups and Dean Tomasek. It is part of a promotional campaign by Four Roses Bourbon. That’s what the #HandCraftTheMoment is about. More and more businesses are figuring out that promoting art that someone might use as a backdrop for their next selfie is a good use of advertising dollars. There’s also a rose painted on the ground a few feet in front of the mural, shown below.

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Located at 708 Monroe Street. The mural actually faces Rosa L. Parks Boulevard. There’s plenty of parking at Germantown Pub, so grab some grub and enjoy the art!

Gotta get that bling!

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Of all the people producing outdoor art in Nashville, I think some of the least appreciated, certainly some of the least written about, are the people who decorate businesses that cater primarily to our international community, notably Latino businesses. Virtually every Latin grocery and convenience store in town is covered in art, usually advertising the wares inside or evoking images of Mexico and Central America. The pattern also sometimes extends to other kinds of businesses, like Bling Mart Jewelry (for which I can find no internet presence). Often, this art is found in places one doesn’t think of as arts destinations, like commercial clusters in the outer parts of the county. The artist for this signed it only as “Vargas,” but as is common with this particular art scene, there’s a phone number, and it matches the one for José F. Vargas, who produced the work in Mi casa es su casa. Bling Mart is on Antioch Pike and Mi Casa is on Dickerson Road, so Vargas gets around!

Located at 1708 Antioch Pike. The trailer sits in the parking lot of Doña Mari Tortilleria Carniceria, itself covered in art which I’ll post about at a later date. There’s plenty of parking, so fill up on tacos, get you some fine jewelry, and enjoy the art!

We build Nashville

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This blog is not the only database of outdoor art in Nashville. Metro Arts Commision has both an actual dataset and the Explore Nashville Art website. They seem like they might have more listings than I do, but it’s had to tell. (Ok, I’m biased, but they don’t seem very user-friendly.) I’m pretty sure though that they don’t have this because this isn’t what they do. This blog (nashvillepublicart.com) is not just a blog about pretty pictures – though don’t get me wrong, I think there is both a beautiful symmetry and a wonderful simplicity to the sign/mural above. It isn’t though what most people think of first when they think “art.” However, this blog is strongly ecumenical about that word, and the slogan around here is “No Art Left Behind.” The work here is signed with a Facebook symbol and “Artist Contact Mural Ruben Torres.” That doesn’t lead anywhere but I’m pretty sure this is the Ruben Torres of Frutas! and And another market. Torres is one of the artists who decorates Latino markets and other businesses. His website, Facebook page, and Instagram only advertise some of his work. He updated the murals featured in Frutas! dramatically a few months ago to include a map of The Nations. Maybe someday when what is obviously some employee’s car isn’t parked in front of it I’ll update the post. As for how Torres’s work wound up on the front of Hartert-Russell, HR is a building firm, so I’d hazard a guess that the connection was made through some of the many Latino construction workers in town.

Located at 2221 Bransford Avenue. There’s no street parking, but there is some parking in back and at Santa’s Pub next door, which has much more exuberant murals.

A noble brew

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It wasn’t that long ago when Hunter’s Custom Automotive used to be on the bend in the road where Main Street becomes Gallatin Pike (they moved to Trinity Lane). And for years they owned a small concrete building they used for storage that lay across the street. And until just before they moved, there was no light. So you would see Hunter’s guys racing across a busy four-lane road with whatever they needed for the current job. Well, a light went in and Hunter’s decamped, and the little concrete block building was transformed into something much larger – Noble’s Kitchen and Beer Hall. Back in January, Noble’s acquired this Eric Bass mural (who signs his work “Mobe Oner”). Bass/Oner has done a number of murals, including one just down the street I haven’t featured yet at Greko Greek Street Food. (And more art inside.) I asked at Noble’s and no one knew who the gentleman in the mural is – he may just be from Bass’s imagination. I like the clever use of the fire hydrant in the mural – see below.

Located at 974 Main Street. The mural is on the east side of the building, facing 10th Street. There is a fair amount of parking at Noble’s. Unfortunately, a lot of it is right in front of the mural, so if you want to get a clear view of it, go early in the morning before Noble’s opens.

Karma

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Most people don’t know it, but the biggest industry in Nashville is health care, not bachelorette parties. Still, all that money from the explosive growth in tourism has brought a lot of well-heeled investors to downtown, forcing out smaller, locally owned businesses that catered to an earlier, more laid back tourist scene. Karma Boutique, founded in 1990, is a survivor. Increasing rents have forced it to move various times, but it’s still here. When it landed in its current location on Third, it gained a new mural to help it stand out. Karma sells clothing and accessories that I’m going to call neo-hippie, much of it handmade by owner-operator Terri Sanford. The mural by Billy Martinez – illustrator, painter, graphic designer, comic artist – is a different but complementary style.  Martinez runs Neko Press, the outlet for much of his work, and also the platform for his art classes.  His work here is definitely attention-getting.

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Located at 205 Third Avenue North. This is downtown, so plenty of parking, none of it free. There is a paid parking lot across the street, but it isn’t cheap. Load up on handmade clothing and enjoy the art!

Coloring the community

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The folks who own East Nashville BBQ Company may or may not have the very most colorful BBQ shack around, but they are certainly contenders. Many hands went into this mural, which is how artist Andee Rudloff often does things. In this project and others, such as the one featured in Down by the river, she contracted with a group of people who collaborated with her on both the design and the production. Here, the main collaborators were the children and families of the Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennesee (Cleveland Park Club) and the Cleaveland Park Neighborhood Association. It’s also a Nashville Metro Arts Commision project, which helped fund it through its THRIVE Community Arts Project. There were other sponsors as well – check the list of names on the sign that’s featured in the slideshow below. As is often true with Rudloff’s collaborative works, there’s a video showing how the mural came together (the video is by Stacey Irvin). It shows Rudloff brainstorming with the kids, then painting the black and white outline of the mural, followed by the community pitching in to fill in the white spaces with color. It all came together June 2, 2016, and continues as a colorful marker of community spirit. Added bonus: There’s a couple of pigs out front – see the slideshow.

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Located at 829 Lischey Avenue, at the southeast corner of Lischey and Cleveland Street. The mural faces west towards Lischey. There is parking at the BBQ place and some street parking on Lischey. Load up on pork and enjoy the art!

 

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