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nashville public art

No art left behind

Author

theroncorse

I am a history professor at Tennessee State University specializing in Latin American History. I live in East Nashville.

Come together

TOMSWooden

Sometimes I blog about art that’s a few years old and doesn’t exist anymore. And sometimes I blog about art less than a week old. There has been a mural explosion on Gallatin Pike, and I could easily spend the next week or two just blogging about all the new murals on that road. One of the newest is this one, “Come Together” by Brian Wooden, he of the headless suits/suits with rose heads. It’s part of a national campaign against gun violence called “End Gun Violence Together” sponsored by Blake Mycoskie and the company he founded, the shoe and apparel company TOMS. This is one of two murals related to the campaign by Wooden in town – the other is in The Gulch and will probably be on this blog someday. It might have been finished earlier if not for the incessant rains of late. It’s part of a national mural campaign promoted by TOMS and Mycoskie. Here’s an example of another take on the design by Ruben Rojas. You can find many more examples on the Instagram page of Tyler Ramsey, an artist who is helping TOMS promote the mural campaign. (Neither his page nor anything at TOMS or on Mycoskie’s page makes clear who made the original design.) I should note this is the second time I have featured gun politics related art. The Dog is a work by Ryan Barbour that supports gun rights (and apparently there are newer sculptures at that site I hope to feature later.)

Located at 2905 Gallatin Pike. It lies on the south side of the building that contains  Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen and The Bowery Vault. The lots around this building and nearby businesses are mostly pay lots (except in the front), but there is some free parking in the alley behind.

The lost art of Bongo East, Part 1

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One of the first murals in town that really grabbed my attention was this one and the one of a boxer next to it. It sat on the north wall of Bongo East, the Five Points branch of the Bongo Java empire. I tried to post about it before, but I realized the only photos I had of it were slightly out of focus (it’s most notable if you look at the signature and tags on the right). And I never got a new picture before construction started in the lot in front of it. I had hoped to photograph it again, as it seemed to be destined to face an open courtyard, but I saw recently that it had been painted over, a white blank wall taking its place. I suppose it clashed with the esthetic of the new building. Interestingly, it’s by Leah Tumerman, the same artist who did the bear mural on the side of Eastside Cycles, which replaced the mural in the banner of this blog, and was somewhat controversial, which I wrote about in one of my very first posts on this blog. This piece is called “Deeply Dimensional Women,” and you can find more pictures of it and close-ups on Timerman’s website. (Interestingly, her large photo of it also seems out of focus on the signature and tags.) The tags include one for Color Theory Studios, so Tinsley Dempsy likely was involved in getting this mural produced. The boxer mural you see in the photo below by Eastside Murals seems to have also been destroyed. It’s certainly blocked from view by the new building. I’ll devote another post to it later.

Construction

Located at 107 Sout 11th Street, or at least it was. The tomato-fist mural still exists, and you can see it from the sidewalk. I’ll post about it later as well. This is Five Points. There is free parking on some of the side streets, but you may have to walk a bit.

Donut art in East Nashville

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I would like to lose weight – this ain’t going to help. Donut Distillery is setting up shop in East Nashville, just a few blocks from my house. Originating as a food truck, Donut Distillery is going brick-and-mortar and bringing new life to the old Mrs. Winners on Gallatin near Five Points. Though not open just yet, it’s already sporting a spiffy new mural by Kristy Oakley, who does business under the name Where the Art Is. Oakley has been on this blog before, for her work in Donelson. This mural most resembles the main mural she did that is featured in Welcome to Donelson, with the large block letters filled with images of local symbols. There are references here to the streets that form Five Points (“E”), East Nashville Magnet (“A” – alma mater long ago of Oprah Winfrey and also just across the street), Mas Tacos Por Favor and Pharmacy Burger Parlor (“T” – Mas Tacos is another food truck now settled down in four walls), The Treehouse (“A”),  the Tomato Art Festival (“S”), Five Points Pizza (“V” – clever – the Roman numeral 5 – “V”  and a pizza slice), I Dream of Weenie (“L”)  and The Idea Hatchery (“E”). The guitar and records (“S”) might be a reference to Woodland Studios or all the music business in the area. The blue awnings in “H” have me stumped. The “L” with our zip code probably references Shelby Bottoms Park and the greenway, and the bottle of beer (“I”) all our many bars. The “N” of course is a nod to the patrons and their business. We also see the downtown skyline as seen from the east side, and the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, which connects East Nashville to downtown.

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Located at 311 Gallatin Avenue. There is plenty of parking, and street parking is available on Ordway Place.

 

Playlist

Groove

And the award for the thinnest mural in Nashville goes to The Groove! This is, in fact, a great use of space, matching the available canvas to the identity of the business it’s attached to. The Groove is, as the sign says, a source for new and used records and CDs (you may find their Facebook page more helpful). Something of a Nashville institution, The Groove has been at its current location since 2010, but only acquired the mural in May. Created by Dakota Jernigan and the artist who goes by ArtBarfer, the mural features a number of album covers, including classic covers from Charlie Mingus,  The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Captain Beefheart, King Crimson, Yes, Stevie Wonder, ELO, Prince, Grace Jones, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Björk, MF Doom, Gorillaz, Christina Aguilera, and David Bowie. Jernigan has a video and slideshow of the creation of the mural on his Instagram page, as does The Groove (photos, more photosvideo).

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Located at 1103 Calvin Avenue, near the intersection with Gallatin Road. Street parking is available. If you want to see it without cars parked in front, try early morning on the weekends.

UAL

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When I first saw this, I thought it said “JAL.” I also assumed it was a sign for a local business. Well, it is a sign for a Nashville business, but it’s the Nashville branch of chan, that uses this image as its corporate logo. And it’s not JAL, but UAL – United Apparel Liquidators. To give you a sense of scale, the sign is about as wide as car, about six feet or so. I’m including a larger photo below (the crop above is for Facebook sharing). I’ve never put a corporate chain sign on the blog before, but this is different. It just looks cool, and it’s also a little hard to find, situated as it is in a back parking lot, behind the strip of stores on West End that include Bombay Palace and China Dragon. It really stands out on a start black wall, and it’s one of the few pieces of outdoor art in the immediate neighborhood.

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Located at 2918 West End Avenue. The mural faces the parking lot on the back side of the building. There is parking on both sides, but much of the back lot has become paid parking recently. Some of the nearby by side streets have free parking.

Off the Wall (Part 12)

Tate

The Off The Wall Nashville project has been finished for a while now, and my cataloging of it is also almost done. This piece is by Sarah Liz Tate, a Nashville illustrator. The positive message of “I.G.B.O.K,” according to Off The Wall, is meant to highlight mental health awareness. Like several of the Off the Wall murals, this one was sponsored by the Buckingham Foundation.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11

Located at 3020 Charlotte Avenue. Your best bet for parking is perhaps across the street at Cross Fit Nashville or street parking on 31st Avenue north of Charlotte.

Camino y Raíces/Roots & Routes

Roots

There’s mixed media, and then there’s mixed media. The sculpture of a stack of books at the Downtown Library featured in Heavy reading is made from stones from five continents. “Camino y Raíces/Roots & Routes” in Azafrán Park contains coins from no less than 77 countries. Azafrán Park, which opened in August, is the result of a partnership between Conexión Américas and Metro Parks and Recreation, among others. It sits on the north side of Casa Azafrán, where the Park building featured in Color me gone – soon once stood. It serves to provide a community space, particularly for children, in a section of town that has little open green space. This piece was produced by Jairo Prado in collaboration with students from the Opportunity Now program. As explained in this Nashville Arts interview with Prado, the students came from Glencliff, Nashville School for the Arts, Overton, and Hume Fogg. The mural, by its title and its coins from many lands, speaks to the different origins of many Nashvillians, particularly the immigrant community along Nolensville and Murfreesboro Pikes. Prado of course also designed and led the production of the mosaic that adorns the front of Casa Azafrán, Migration. The coins for this mural were collected at Casa Azafrán, in the community and even at the airport! This is a bit of an art hotspot. The mosaic faces the giant photo mural from Oz Arts Inside/Out, Part 1. The mural featured in Hidden away is really hidden now, as there is a concrete wall in front of it, but it can still be glimpsed from the side and through some holes in the wall. And there’s a mural on that concrete wall I’ll feature later, as well as some mobile giant snails from Cracking Art and a colorful block arrangement for kids to play on. All of it will probably be on the blog eventually.

Located at 2187 Nolensville Pike. There is parking in front and behind Casa Azafrán.

Bicycle Cat Wars

Once upon a time, Red Bicycle Coffee could be found on Gallatin Road, just up the street from La Hacienda. They have since decamped up the road, and are now found across from Casa Azafrán (and a couple other places). They left behind some murals in the backyard, which the new business in the space seems to have embraced. Which makes some sense, given that one of the images is a giant cat, and the new folks in the space are Mewsic Kitty Cafe, which allows patrons to interact with foster kitties waiting for adoption. I have only been able to ascertain that these murals were done by a former Red Bicycle employee so if anyone knows the artist, please comment. The stencil of a cat going through a pet door is fairly recent, presumably by another artist, and the sign out front was designed by Alpha-Tone Design.

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Located at 2519 Nolensville Pike. The murals face the alley in back, which can be accessed from Grandview Avenue. There is a fair amount of parking.

Lane Motor Museum

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Housed in what for many years was a Sunbeam Bread factory, Lane Motor Museum on Murfreesboro is a privately-owned museum that prides itself on being one of the few motor museums in America primarily focused on European automobiles. Back in 2014, it acquired a Michael Cooper mural, whose professional home is Murals and More. The gentleman pictured is Jeff Lane, founder of the museum. The only blue car in the online version of the museum’s collection that resembles the car in the mural is the 1938 Georges Irat. However, while it’s the wrong color, the details in the mural car seem closer to the green 1955 MG TF 1500, which would make sense, as, according to a video on the museum’s history, that was the first car Lane restored himself. No word on the dog! There is also a set of car-themed stamps above the main entrance that were also painted by Cooper. They are partially blocked from view unless you go out to the road. There are better pictures than mine of the stamps on Cooper’s website.

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Located at 702 Murfreesboro Pike. The museum has parking. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which might be the best time to visit if you only want to see the murals.

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