Search

nashville public art

Nashville murals, street art, graffiti, signs, sculptures and more

Lockeland Design Mural

This mural is hard for me to miss, as I only live a block away – though it’s not the closest mural to my house! This is unmistakably the work of Andee Rudloff, along with students of Lockeland Design Center, an elementary school in in Lockeland Springs where the mural is found. You might know Lockeland Design for its strong reputation, or you might know it because it was featured in a Kleenex ad that honored a long-time janitor.

Rudloff is know for her community murals, and she has done several at schools, including two murals not far away at Warner Arts Magnet Elementary.

The Lockeland Design mural sits on the back of a “portable” classroom (it’s been in place for several years) behind the main school building. It’s filled with a number of school-related themes, and from this mural I have finally learned that the school mascot is the Lions. I like how the design makes creative use of the HVAC vents.

The mural also honors the class of 2020. I wondered about that, but because Lockeland Design has recently acquired an Instagram account, I was able to learn that the mural is a legacy product of the 4th grade class of 2020 (LDC is a K-4 school). The design of the mural includes drawings from the Class of 2020, and it went up last November.

Lockeland Design Mural Nashville street art

I managed to get a picture of the mural just after Rudloff had drawn the outline of the design. This is how she does community murals – she draws the outline, and then invites participants to help her fill it with color. Over on Lockeland Design’s Instagram page, you can find a video of Rudloff drawing the design, as well as photos of students helping to complete the project.

Located at 105 South 17th Street. That’s the address of the school. The mural is found on the back side of the school, and can be seen from the 1700 block of Woodland Street. Remember that this is a school. While the backyard is usually open, limit your visits there to when school is not in session. Street parking is available.

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 7

Of the many fences surrounding Columbine Park in Berry Hill with murals that depict famous musicians, only one is not immediately visible from the street, as it is in the parking lot of what used to be the main House of Blues building. (The whole complex of House of Blues properties in Berry Hill was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group.) The mural can be seen from East Iris Drive, but a water tower partially obscures the view. Like the whole set, this fence was created by Scott Guion for the now closed Nashville branch of the House of Blues.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
T Bone Burnett

This particular fence is just as eclectic as the others, with a range of artists representing everything from classic country to modern hip-hop. Like the other fences, the people depicted are shown at a range of ages, and this is also one of the only fences where the majority of people shown are alive. Prominently displayed with a halo of rays that make his image look almost three-dimensional is T Bone Burnett, a guitarist and song-writer best known for his work as an influential and prolific producer.

Faces mural Nashville street art
Patsy Cline and Stevie Ray Vaughan

In the middle are two stars who perished young in aviation accidents, the legendary Patsy Cline and the wildly talented guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. They were only 30 and 35, respectively, when they died.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
Joe Walsh and Snoop Dogg

Next to Vaughn is a portrait of another guitarist, Joe Walsh, who fist gained fame with the James Gang and then became a superstar with the Eagles. And at the far left is Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg, aka Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. He’s labeled here as Snoop Lion, a name he used for a time in 2013 in promotion of reggae record, and is depicted engaging in one of his favorite activities.

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.

Located at 517 East Iris Drive. The mural faces north across the parking lot towards West Iris. The parking lot is most likely to be empty on Sunday. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Incline

Along the East Bank Greenway, which lies between the river and Nissan Stadium, there’s a stand of trees a little north of the Ghost Ballet sculpture (the red twisty thing in the picture above). At the north end of the trees is a giant gear ring embedded in the greenway, which not many people know is called “Threshold.” At the south end of the stand of trees, just off the greenway in the direction of the river is a less well-known piece appropriately called “Incline.”

Incline Sculpture Nashville street art

It’s a long metal beam with a gear wheel welded to it, that has rusted in the weather. There’s no fanfare to it, it’s just this thing sticking out of the ground, daring you to make sense of it. Like “Threshold,” it’s by Joe Sorci. It’s art based on found materials. Like Ghost Ballet and Threshold, it’s made from objects left behind by the barge companies like Ingram Industries that used to operate on the east bank.

Incline Sculpture Nashville street art

It was installed in 1999, and it’s the product of a grant from the Metro Development and Housing Authority (which may explain the lack of a plaque – Metro Arts is very good about signage). The only reason I know its name is it is recorded in the Metro-Owned Condition Assessment Report, published in 2017. Its condition was listed as good, noting that it’s structurally sound and has insect nests, notably in the gear wheel. (Be careful!)

Incline Gear Nashville street art

There are two other small pieces by Sorci along the stand of trees. Near Threshold, there’s pieces of metal embedded in a concrete viewing ramp. Metro refers to them as an “Industrial Salvage Mosaic,” which apparently is not its formal name. It might not have one.

Industrial Mosaic Nasville street art

The other piece is large metal ring that serves as a bench. I don’t have a picture but will add one later.

Located on the East Bank Greenway, which parallels Titan’s Way. If you are on the river side of the stadium, Incline is almost directly lined up with the corner of Titan’s Way and Victory Avenue, which runs along the south end of the stadium. There’s some free parking for the park on the other side of the pedestrian bridge that lies south of Incline.

Riverside Revival

It is something of a small trend in East Nashville that some church buildings have been repurposed in recent years. The rapidly shifting demographics of the region and the even more rapid rise in real estate values is undoubtedly behind this. The members of Family Affairs Ministries decided its home at the corner of Riverside and Porter was too large and too expensive to maintain, so they sold it to The Boedecker Foundation in 2017. (They put the money to good use – their new digs ain’t bad.)

The Boedecker Foundation is the project of George Boedecker Jr., co-founder and former CEO of Crocs. His foundation renovated and expanded the church complex, reopening it recently as Riverside Revival, an event space as well as a nonprofit hub to be called the East Nashville Community Collaborative.

And of course it has a mural, because more and more, that’s what businesses and enterprises in Nashville do. It’s the work of Danielle Duer, with assistance from Andee Rudloff. While Rudloff has done a number of murals around town, I believe this is Duer’s first outdoor mural in Nashville. It went in last November, and its riot of leaves and flowers is in keeping with much of Duer’s work. While currently sold out, Duer even has a handbag called “Garden Grow” in her online shop with a very similar design.

If you look closely at the picture at top, you’ll see three small, young trees that are currently leafless in the landscaped area in front of the mural. In time, not only will they leaf out, but they will grow. The leaves of the trees will blend with the leaves of the mural behind them. This mural is destined to become part of a three-dimensional installation. It is even four-dimensional, for the trees will change with the years and the seasons. Often, something blocking your mural is detrimental, but in this case I think it will lend vibrancy and long-term energy to this piece.

Riverside Revival Mural Nashville Street art
Riverside Revival Mural Nashville street art

Located at 1600 Riverside Drive. The mural is on the Porter Road side of the complex, and faces towards Riverside. There is a small parking lot on the other side of the annex that the mural is on, and a much larger one on the other side of the church building. Not much street parking is nearby.

Baked on Eighth

If you live in Nashville and pay any attention to murals, you’ve seen this. It’s on a major thoroughfare, it adorns a beloved sweet shop, so of course people put this on their Instagram. It’s a bachelorette favorite. Posting this now is not journalism!

This mural for Baked on Eighth appeared back in February, 2018. It is appropriately emblazoned with the slogan “Life Can be Sweet,” and is festooned with cookies and pies and cakes, exactly what Baked on 8th is known for. They change their menu regularly, but they focus on the sweet stuff.

The mural is the creation of Susanna Chapman. Chapman is a local illustrator and muralist who specializes in watercolors and book design, mostly children’s books. To my knowledge, this is her only outdoor mural in Nashville, but her illustration work is playful and energetic and would definitely lend itself to some fun murals. Hopefully we’ll see more from her.

This mural is hard to photograph. I like to photograph on cloudy days to avoid shadows, but the pastels look a little dark in anything besides bright sunlight. So imagine this on a sunnier day. Or better, make an order on a sunny day at Baked on Eighth, and go see it for yourself.

Located at 1512 8th Avenue South. The mural is on the south side of the building, looking down 8th Avenue away from downtown. There’s parking in back of Baked on Eight and there’s street parking just to the north on Lynwood Avenue, where you will find the mural featured in Hanging Around.

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 6

Of the many fences surrounding Columbine Park in Berry Hill with murals that depict famous musicians, the only fence that faces the park from the east lies directly in front of what used to be the main House of Blues building. The whole complex of House of Blues properties in Berry Hill was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group. This fence is not as crowded with portraits as some of the others, probably because when it was first painted, there were two large trees in front of it that have since been removed. Like the whole set, this fence was created by  Scott Guion for the now closed Nashville branch of the House of Blues.

The people portrayed on this fence were all deeply influential, and it includes a couple of superstars. Like the other fences, Guion plays around with ages, with some of the artists shown as quite young, while others much older. Unlike some of the other fences, all of the artists depicted here have died. The left side of the fence includes the two biggest stars, with a middle-aged Johnny Cash and younger Aretha Franklin.

Berry Hill Faces Nashville street art
Johnny Cash and Aretha Franklin

The rest of the artists shown are important for their instrumental work, their singing, and their songwriting. Albert King was an important blues guitarist and singer best known for the song “Born Under A Bad Sign.” Carl Perkins was a was one of the key singer-songwriters of the early the rock-and-roll era who was known as the “King of Rockabilly.” He worked with a Rolodex of major artists, including a number of collaborations with his fence-mate Cash.

Berry Hill Faces Nashville street art
Albert King and Carl Perkins

On the right side of the fence we find Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf and Ralph Stanley. Reed was highly influential in the development of electric blues guitar playing. Howlin’ Wolf was also deeply influential in blues, as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonic player. Stanley was a towering figure in the creation of bluegrass music. The reality is American music would sound very different without the people depicted on this fence.

Berry Hill Faces Nashville street art
Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf, and Ralph Stanley

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.

Located at 517 East Iris Drive. That’s the address of the building it stands in front of. It faces west towards the park and Columbine Place. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 7

Frankie Pierce Park, Part 3

In August, 2019 Anthony Billups of Music City Murals and Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun did a series of murals in the new Frankie Pierce Park. The murals all honor one of Nashville’s most important Black activists, J. Frankie Pierce.  Pierce was a civil rights activist who played an important part in the women’s suffrage movement in Nashville, and who opened the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls in 1923, which remained open until 1979.

There’s a long Pierce mural on the east side of the park. On the southwest side, there are two Pierce murals flanking a railroad underpass, the southernmost of which I’ve already featured. Today being the first day of African-American History Month, it’s a good time to wrap up this series. This third mural lies across the street from the second one. Here we can read a short biography of Pierce’s life and work in the form of a newspaper article, and learn about her campaigns for civil rights and women’s suffrage.

Frankie Pierce Park is a green space that includes a children’s playground that was built as a public-private partnership between Capitol View, a massive multi-block development, and Metro Parks. It lies in a triangle of land between two elevated railroad lines that separate Capitol View from Capitol Hill.

Today, the neighborhood the park is found in is know as Capitol View, after the enormous development project. There are even developers and real-estate agents who like to call it “North Gulch,” which is truly awful. But as the “newspaper article” that makes up the mural notes, when Frankie Pierce was alive, this patch of land was called Hell’s Half-Acre. Founded during Reconstruction, the neighborhood was populated by Blacks and immigrants. As it lay outside of city limits at the time, it was a place where saloons and all kinds of vice flourished, but was also home to a rich African-American culture. It was razed in the 1950s as part of a Capitol Hill Redevelopment plan, and largely remained empty (or used as parking lots) until the Capitol View development project was built. Gentrification, or just outright destruction of neighborhoods, is not a new problem in Nashville.

Here you can see the “newspaper” mural with its companion, looking out of the park towards the Capitol View development.

Underpass murals Nashville street art

Located at 130 Lifeway Plaza. That’s the address of the park. The mural is found on the south end of the park, on the southern railroad underpass, right off of Nelson Merry Street. The easiest parking is off of Nelson Merry, which you can see in the bottom image, and at Capitol View.

Part 1 Part 2

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑