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Churches

An invitation

Balloons mural street art Nashville

Part of what drives the mural explosion in Nashville is social media. To be more precise, business owners are increasingly aware that having a mural on their building is an invitation for people, tourists mainly, to have their picture taken with the art and hopefully check in on Instagram or Facebook. Even if they don’t, the art drives foot traffic. Some murals are specifically designed for this. Note the work of Kelsey Montague. She does murals all over the world meant as selfie bait. Her original wings mural in the Gulch draws long lines, and the newer, temporary one was an instant sensation. The owners of the East Nashville branch of BoomBozz, a beer and pizza joint recently installed in the old church at Russell and 10th Streets, understand this dynamic. Thus this Mobe Oner piece on the back corner of the building. Who doesn’t want their picture with these balloons? If it helps sell pizza, all the better. (There’s more Mobe Oner art inside, but this is an outdoor art blog.)

Located at 1003 Russell Street. There is street parking nearby, but it can be hard to come by. A pay lot is nearby, across the street. Grab some grub (and a selfie!) and enjoy the art.

Angels and monsters

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The mural that graces the parking lot of the Downtown Presbyterian Church is difficult to photograph, as it faces a narrow lot and there are usually cars parked in front of it. Turns out, Sunday evening on Labor Day weekend is the time to get a clean shot. The work, done in 2007, is by four artists. The giant angel and the billy goat are by John Grider, the long-legged beasts are by Isaac Arvold, the colorful mountain by Drew Peterson, and the geometric “clouds” are by Eric Inkala. The mural indicates that it was made possible by the church and by Twist Art Gallery, which closed a few years ago. Grider has done both the goat and the angel in other places. There are other murals close by, including one that faces this same parking lot I haven’t featured yet.

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Located at 154 5th Ave North. That’s the address of the church. The mural is actually on the side of 415 Church Street. The parking lot is best accessed from the alley that parallels Church Street behind the Presbyterian Church. This is downtown, so lots of parking, virtually none of it free.

Going up!

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I have been remiss in posting about art found in the “skyscraper” district, something I aim to fix. I start small here with a single door, on the east side of the Downtown Presbyterian Church. It’s the work of Sarah Shearer, done in 2009, and she even has a blog post detailing her progress as she put the work together.

Located at 154 5th Ave North, in the alley on the east side of the building. The church is at the corner of Church and Fifth and is worth a look itself. Walk up the alley. There’s more art up there I’ll feature later. This is downtown, so parking lots and garages abound, none of them free.

 

With mind and spirit soaring

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That’s the motto of the Episcopal School of Nashville, who commissioned Chip Boles to produce this mural to grace their parking lot/basketball court. Boles, whose mural work seems to be mostly in indoor locations, used the theme as inspiration for “Nashville Community,” as he has dubbed the mural. Familiar Nashville icons grace the mural, though I’ve seen more possums than raccoons myself! There is also a more abstract piece behind it that pushes the limits of the term “public art.” While the Boles mural is clearly visible from Woodland Street, the other piece (last picture at the bottom), while outdoors, can only be clearly seen if you get up on the porch of the school building, which you would need permission from the school operators to do. We’ll call it “hidden art.” My guess is it is also temporary student art.

Located at 419 Woodland Street, just west of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, near the corner of 5th and Woodland. The parking lot has a gate, but it is often open after hours. During the school day this is, of course, a working school, so you should probably not approach without permission. The Boles mural is fairly easy to see from the street if the gate is locked.

A saint among us


Religion has, of course, always been a major force driving humans to create art, and the Catholic Church has long been one of the world’s great art patrons. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and School is hardly the only church in Nashville that has invested in public art, just the first featured on this blog. There will be more!

Joseph, carrying his traditional carpenter’s tools, can be found at 1225 Gallitan Pike South, just north of the cemeteries that are themselves just north of Briley Parkway.

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