It’s been two years since the first post went up on this blog. In that time, I’ve built a small following and learned a fair amount about the outdoor art scene in Nashville/Davidson County. The most obvious thing I’ve learned about is the relationship between local independent businesses and outdoor art. Corporate businesses, with very few exceptions, do not support local artists or allow their branding to be altered with local art. That’s why the area around Rivergate Mall has very little outdoor art, and Nolensville Pike has so much. If your neighborhood has a Panda Express, you won’t find much art. If it has a lot of immigrant grocery stores and local auto repair centers, you’re likely to get art.
Another observation is that art breeds art. You see this in the distinction between Nolensville and Murfreesboro Pikes. Both have a similar mix of independent businesses with a good sized immigrant community, but outdoor art just hasn’t quite caught on on Murfreesboro.
And of course, there is a relationship between tourism and art. A Buzzfeed article by Anne Helen Petersen did a good job of linking the bachelorette phenomenon with the growth in murals. All those folks posting pictures of themselves in front of murals, tagging the location on Instagram and Facebook, well, it’s a lot of free advertising. The explosion of murals in the 12 South neighborhood is in part a response to this phenomenon. And certainly, the art found there and elsewhere in town has gotten a lot of attention, including promotions to tourists and homebuyers. Most of the attention is focused on tourist-heavy areas like 12 South, Downtown, the Gulch, while work in the outer boroughs and non-mural art doesn’t get as much love, art that doesn’t drive as much tourism and isn’t as well known but is very much part of our local art scene.
Most of those articles probably get more traffic than this blog, but traffic is moving in the right direction – up. I have more than double the number of monthly page views than I had in 2017, at about 1200 to 1600 a month, though for this month, June 2018, the number is almost 2300. Small, but growing. Google Analytics tells me that my largest readership group is women aged eighteen to thirty-four, which is the principle demographic making up the bachelorette parties, so perhaps I’m part of the problem! (Or the blessing, if your job depends on them.)
So yes go to 12 South and Five Points and The Gulch, but take a look at my map and explore a little (just check the link for each point to see if I’ve updated it as being “lost art”). There’s a lot out there, and more all the time. I’ll keep working to document it all.
July 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm
Hi! I saw that you linked my blog post in your article and was saddened to see it being referred to negatively. My post specifically only talks about murals in the 12th South neighborhood (which has already had some murals changed and/or removed one year later!). I absolutely have/had planned for it be a series of posts, highlighting different areas of Nashville and the street art to be found. As you probably can imagine it’s very time consuming to create content using my original photos, researching the artists and stories behind each individual mural while simultaneously taking on client work. I appreciate the message in the post, as a former Art Teacher I 100% stand by your message, but I wish mine and other’s blogs and articles could have been left without the unnecessary slight. #communityovercompetition
July 2, 2018 at 1:20 pm
You right. I was much to flip an didn’t do my research on that part. I’ll rewrite it. You know, even though i noted increased page views, I’m still a little surprised anyone reads my stuff.
July 2, 2018 at 1:29 pm
Thank you! WordPress actually sent me a notification that your page had linked my article. I know what you mean, I was surprised when a magazine actually hired me based on that exact blog post actually! You never know who’s lurking your site, haha. I appreciate you reading my comment with an open mind and your willingness to reword it! Thanks again, and keep up the good work!