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Enrich lives through inspiration

ATS Mural

Often I don’t get around to posting art until long after it appears, but this time I’m almost guilty of journalism, as this piece was finished very recently. It’s by Adrianne Tuck Simonetti, who besides being a muralist is the Senior Creative Project Manager at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The building itself, found at the corner of Lea and Hermitage, is undergoing a transformation that as of last weekend was not quite complete, as the street in front was still blocked for construction. It will be the new home of the Nashville office of JE Dunn Construction, which commisioned the work by Simonetti. Once the construction is finished and the street fully open, expect to see this mural in many social media posts.

Located at 29 Hermitage Avenue. The mural lies on the southeast side of the building facing Lea Avenue. Right now Lea is partially closed and there is no parking on Lea from Rutledge Steet to Hermitage. There is some free street parking on and near Rutledge, and presumably more will be available when Lea fully reopens.

 

The Johnny Cash Mural

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Sure, there’s more than one mural featuring Johnny Cash in this town. But this was one of the first, if not the very first. Or at least, the original one on this spot was. Bryan Deese, Audie Adams and Ryan Shrader of Thoughts Manifested produced a Cash mural on this spot not long after Cash’s death in 2003. However, by late 2012 it was in very bad shape, so the same three artists painted a new Cash mural to replace the original (and I do not know how close the second version is to the first). There is a video of them making the second mural. Now six years on, the second mural is somewhat worse for wear, and it faces more threats than just the weather and traffic smog. The little building it’s on is surrounded by some very expensive real estate, and it’s hard to imagine no developer has any interest in it. If you want your picture taken in front of it, you might want to do so soon.

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Located at 300 4th Avenue South at the corner of 4th and Molloy Street. The mural faces Molloy. This is downtown, so lots of parking, almost none of it free.

Tennessee World War II Memorial

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It’s Memorial Day, and so it’s a good day to look at one of the more striking war memorials in Nashville, the Tennessee World War II Memorial found on the grounds of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Like the rest of the park, it was built to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the 1796 founding of Tennessee, though it was not finished and dedicated until November 11, 1997 (Veteran’s Day). The primary feature, which children (and adults!) love playing with is the eight-ton carved stone globe, which rests on a cushion of flowing water and can be easily pushed into different angles, though it rotates on its own due to the flowing water. In front of the globe is a stone platform littered with stars honoring the 5,731 Tennesseans who died in WW2. Ten pillars, five on each side, line the east and west of the platform. Reflecting the direction one travels to get to Europe or Asia from Tennesee, the ones to the east depict moments from the war in Europe, while those on the east depict moments from the war in the Pacific. To the south is a long bench with the names of seven Tennesee recipients of the Medal of Honor. A time capsule lays buried in front of that bench.

Many minds and hands went into designing and building this monument. General Enoch Stephenson led a committee of veterans, originally appointed by Governor Ned McWherter, which oversaw design and construction. The memorial was designed by Tuck-Hinton Architects, Ross/Fowler,  and EMC Structural Engineers. The memorial was built by Hardaway Construction. (Many thanks to the American Legion who gathered much of this information.)

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Located at 600 James Robertson Parkway (which is the address of the park). The memorial specifically is found on the north-west side of the park, along the 1000 block of Seventh Avenue North, and is about a block and half south of the 600 block of Jefferson Street. It lies across the street from the future home of the Tennesse State Museum, currently under construction. There is free parking in the park. This is a memorial, so please be respectful.

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Recycling

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Art comes and goes depending on the needs of the sponsors. When I wrote about the art on the old Turnip Green/Plateone building, I wondered what would happen to the Seth Prestwood (@moldymonk) pieces on the north and south sides of the building since both businesses had left. So far, the one on the north side is unchanged. Recently, however, Jason Galaz incorporated the piece on the south side into new work featuring the artists Pat Reedy, Alicia Bognanno of Bully and Joshua Hedley. I suppose that’s a fancy way of saying Galaz painted over Prestwood’s mural, but the remaining visible parts of the older mural make a nice framing device for the new one. Galaz signs the mural with his name and #MuddyRoots. Galaz has done Muddy Roots Records murals before, such as the one found in BBQ music. Reedy is a Muddy Roots recording artist, though I’m not sure what relationship the other two artists have to the label/music festival. Certainly, musicians make sense on this wall, as the building now houses a branch of Fond Object.  Muddy Roots has sponsored temporary murals before, like the one in Wanda, so it remains to be seen how long this one will remain in place. (The Wanda mural was on the side of the other branch of Fond Object, so there’s another link.)

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Located at 535 Fourth Avenue South. This is downtown, so not much in the way of free parking. There are paid lost nearby.

Building who’s Nashville?

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Ordinarily, I like to keep people out of the pictures I use on this blog. But for this particular mural, done by Michael Cooper of Murals and Moore, that’s not easy. Church Street Park, known also as Library Park, has become a gathering ground for homeless Nashvillians. Some of this is because it lies across from the downtown Main Library, which has made efforts to reach out to the homeless. Not surprisingly, the presence of homeless people in such a prominent spot has raised controversy. That controversy is probably behind the willingness of Mayor David Briley to back a controversial proposal to allow developer Tony Giarratana to build a commercial high rise tower on the property in exchange for also building an apartment complex for the homeless on James Robertson Parkway. Ten years ago, the city bulldozed and rebuilt the park to rid the park of pesky starlings. Now they might just demolish it so they can rid it of the homeless. Whether the deal with Giarratana goes through remains to be seen. If it does, Cooper’s mural suggesting an unfinished but growing Nashville will almost certainly disappear. Call it endangered art.

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Located at 600 Church Street, across from the downtown library. This is downtown, so plenty of parking, almost none of it free. The library parking garage has reasonable rates, including ninety free minutes with validation. Peruse the stacks and enjoy the art!

Carter Vintage Guitars (Part 2)

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On the south side of Carter Vintage Guitars is a mural of a giant guitar (see Part 1, below), while on the north side we find this quiet tribute to Maybelle Carter. It’s a Vermillion Murals production (professional home of Jenna Boyko Colt and Brian Law) like the mural on the south side of the building. The image of Maybelle is taken from a well-known photo of her with A.P. and Sara Carter. While the south side features a full Gibson guitar, here we see just the head. Walter Carter, who along with his wife Christie Carter founded Carter Vintage, has in fact written a book about Gibson guitars. (No apparent relation between them and the Carter Family.)

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Located at 625 8th Avenue South. Most of the parking lot you see here is a paid lot, unless you are a customer of Carter Vintage or Arnold’s Country Kitchen. There is a small amount of free street parking on 9th Ave and the street between Carter Vintage and Jackalope Brewery that seems to also be called Division Street (unlike the Division Street one block farther south), and there are other paid lots in the area. Grab some grub, browse the vintage guitars, and enjoy the art!

Capitol relics, Bicentennial Mall

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Walk down the Walkway of Counties on the east side of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and at the halfway point you’ll find these mysterious fragments of limestone Ionic columns. There is a stela nearby that tells the story of these fragments. They were part of the original facade of the Tennessee State Capitol building. The Capitol, built between 1845 and 1859, was designed by William Strickland. It was built out of limestone pulled from a quarry near what is now 13th and Charlotte. The limestone deteriorated over time, and the original columns were replaced in a major renovation in the 1950s. The old columns were stored near the state prison on Centinneal Boulevard until the construction of Bicentennial Mall in 1995. Some were taken to the northwest side of the Capitol building and arranged by Charles Waterfield, who had worked on the original restoration. Others came to the Mall, though there’s no indication who arranged this set. Both the stela at the Mall and a sign at the Capitol say the arrangements are a tribute to those who built the Capitol. What neither acknowledges is the role of slave labor in constructing the Capitol. According to an article by Thomas Joseph Broderick IV,

In the spring of 1846, fifteen slaves, all men, were loaned to the state government by A.G. Payne, a Nashville stone mason. For nearly a year they carved out the Capitol’s cellar, their skilled labor worth nearly twice as much as the unskilled labor of free men.

In all the discussion of monuments and who we should and should not recognize, one thing is clear – there are many missing monuments. It would be a simple thing to add a sign at each site noting the labor of these fifteen men, leaving us with one fewer missing monument. See below for views from other angles, and for the four capitals that are found around the central column fragments.

Located on the 900 block of 6th Avenue North, about halfway between Harrison and Jefferson Street. There is plenty of parking in the park, including free two-hour parking almost directly across from the columns.  (The ones on Capitol grounds can be reached by entering the parking lot at Charlotte and Rosa Parks Avenues and driving to the very end of the lot.)

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!

History in color

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When I first saw this Thoughts Manifested mural on the west wall of Plaza Art, (or PLA-ZA, as it says on the sign in front) I knew it had some cultural references I didn’t quite recognize. Sure, I knew about the artist who goes by “Kid Oak” and who puts up the acorn-hatted boy all over town. And I figured the hockey player was from one of our many pre-Predators teams. But although the images looked familiar, I was fuzzy on some of the references. Bryan Deese’s Instagram page helped set me straight. I should have known the boy with the donut was from the Donut Den, as I love their donuts. And though Twitty City became Trinity Music City some time ago, I had been to Conway Twitty‘s legendary Christmas light show years ago when I was a Vandy grad student, and I should have recognized the Twitty bird. The hockey player represents the Nashville South Stars, who played here 1981-1983. Too early for me, though I did catch a couple Nashville Knights games in the early ’90s (the hockey team, not the Lingerie/Legends Football League team). The dancing peanut is from The Peanut Shop in the Arcade, which got its start as a Planters Peanut store in 1927 but became independent in 1960. And there is, of course, the Prince from Prince’s Hot Chicken. There are catfish in the Cumberland River, and then there are those other Nashville catfish. The birds are symbols Thoughts Manifested uses in many of their murals, while Montana is the name of a spray paint company (whose cans you can buy at Plaza). L&N is the old Louisville and Nashville railroad, which was one of the major lines coming through Union Station, while CSX is the railroad company that ultimately absorbed L&N and has a regional headquarters here. Plaza Arts lies close to the still functioning CSX tracks. Wow, that’s a lot of links!

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Located at 633 Middleton Sreet in Pie Town. The mural is on the west side of the building, facing Seventh Avenue South. There is parking at Plaza and street parking on 7th. Load up on art supplies and enjoy the art!

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