Search

nashville public art

No art left behind

Category

Downtown

Capitol relics, Bicentennial Mall

CapitolRelicsBM1

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

KarmaFull

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.

KarmaFrontKarmaSide

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

PAFullRight

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!

PALeftFull

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Chet Atkins, C.G.P.

ChetAtkinsFullRight

Though a little off center from the main downtown tourist center, this work draws in the tourists who want their picture taken with the great Chet Atkins, if only in bronze. This lost wax sculpture titled “Chet Atkins, c.g.p.” is the work of Nashville artist Russell Faxon, and went in in January 2000, a year and a half before Atkins’ death. Various music luminaries paid tribute at the unveiling, including Eddy Arnold, who said, “I’m delighted to be here because I met Chet back in 1896.” Atkins himself promised everyone that, “I’ll come to your outing if you have one.” The statue was paid for by Bank of America, the major tenant in the building that looms over the Atkins tribute. So what’s that “C.G.P” about? Certified Guitar Player, a designation Atkins gave out to those players he thought “excelled far beyond the normal line of playing.” Only five men, plus Atkins himself, got the title. There is of course that empty stool, placed there so you could have your picture taken with the man. Many tourists do, and local folks who just need a place to sit can also be found on the stool. I’m sure Atkins would be happy to play for any of them.

Side note: I was so astonished to find the statue devoid of humans, I parked in a hurry and raced to take pictures. You can see my little red car in the header above, and there’s a better shot below in the photo of the back side of the sculpture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Located at 414 Union Street. The sculpture sits in a small triangular plaza at 5th and Union, in front of the Bank of America Building. This is downtown, so plenty of parking, virtually none of it free.

A well-traveled rose

Rose65Back

The Frist Museum (more properly known as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts) does not generally keep permanent pieces but rather hosts an ongoing series of new exhibits. One notable exception sits outside – “Rose on 65th Street” by Will Ryman. It may not have originally be thought to be permanent – an article from the Nashville Scene dated May 2012 says it “will remain up through December.” The descriptive plaque states that it was an anonymous gift in 2013, so apparently, someone liked it enough to buy it and donate it to the museum. It was originally part of a series Ryman installed in 2011 along Park Avenue in New York City as a “riff on a Park Avenue tradition of displaying seasonal flowers and ornamental trees.” Look close – it’s more than just roses. Its initial installation on the front side of the Frist facing Broadway was an elaborate process. It is now installed on the opposite side of the building.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Located at 919 Broadway. The statue is found on the south side of the building, facing McGavok Street at the corner with 10th Avenue. The museum has its own parking, with a half off discount for visitors. Otherwise, you might take it in after you drop off a package at the Post Office in the basement or before quaffing a few beers at the Flying Saucer.

From me to you

ZidekBrownMain2

Some unusual presentation for a (somewhat) unusual mural. This Nashville Walls Project mural across the street from the Gulch version of Barista Parlor is really two murals joined together, and is also found in a cramped alleyway where it’s impossible to get a full direct shot. Thus my header photo is a merged shot, one from the left, one from the right, each featuring one of the different artists. On the left, one of the colorful geometric math problems Nathan Brown is known for. On the right, a human figure in the characteristic style of Chris Zidek, who signs his work Zidekahedron. This mural took some time to complete. I went by several times to see if it was finished. If there were paint supplies left next to the wall, I figured it wasn’t. I did, however, catch Brown at work one day – you can see that in the slideshow of close-ups below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Located at 601 Overton Street. The mural actually faces Mansion Street, on the south side of the Turner Supply Company building. Mansion Street is not much more than an alley and has prominent No Parking signs. You can put some coins in the meters along Overton, but most of the nearby paid lots have one-hour free parking to encourage shopping in the Gulch, so make it part of your Gulch crawl and enjoy the art!

 

300

img_4520-2

This is post number 300. For this post, I’m updating on the art I know is now gone. The photo above is an Emily Miller piece once found at the corner of Main and McFerrin. Much of Miller’s work is deliberately temporary, drawn on paper and glued to outdoor walls. Her pieces are more durable than you might think, however, and in fact, this one was deliberately removed when the building was repainted. That’s the fate of most of the works listed here – they have been painted over. Others are gone because the building they stood on is gone.

The blog itself is getting a little better all the time. Statistics wise, since I started it in July 2016, 5450 people have visited the blog for a total of 11,006 page views. Modest, but it has been growing. From a couple hundred views a month when I got started, 800 and 900 has become common, it looks like the blog is about to close in on the second month in a row and third overall for more than 1000 views. The empire grows slowly.

All art is temporary, outdoor art in particular. A list, probably incomplete, of art I have chronicled that is gone or substantially erased. (I will be updating these posts in the coming weeks):

Ask not who the wrecking ball calls for (one building destroyed, another painted over)

The Vape USA Gallery (painted over)

The doomed graffiti wars of Madison Mills (painted over)

Unsafe at any speed (painted over)

Ch-ch-ch-changes! (removed – the Miller piece above)

The Carquest Gallery, Part 1The Carquest Gallery, Part 2 (partially painted over)

Where you at?! (painted over)

Color me gone – soon (building destroyed)

The ghost of craft beers past (painted over)

A flower grows in East Nashville (painted over; replaced with new mural)

Going, going gone (painted over)

Sorry you missed the show (painted over)

Children’s Art on Jefferson Street (removed)

Super visible, very temporary, hard to reach (replaced with a billboard)

Woodland creatures, Part 1 (severely deteriorated, and then removed)

The Zoop Gallery on 8th South (removed and/or deteriorated, replaced)

The ruins of 21st and Linden (lost to construction)

Oz Arts Inside/Out, Part 2 (removed)

On imagined seas (painted over, replaced with new mural)

Big Blue (painted over, replaced with new sign)

Frutas! (partially painted over, replaced with new mural)

Wanda (painted over, replaced with new mural)

One mural down, one mural up

ZidekMural

Some time ago, many months ago, I remember driving down 12th Avenue past Whiskey Kitchen and catching out of the corner of my eye a large mural of a human figure. I thought, “Need to come back and photograph that.” I was slow about it, and when I finally went back I was quite surprised when instead of a human figure, I saw this geometric mural instead. Had I imagined the other mural? Had I misremembered its location? No, just testimony to the ephemeral nature of outdoor art. The piece above is by Chris Zidek, who signs his work Zidekahedron. He’s been featured here before, in such pieces as the octopus in Uncovered! And he has other new work which I’ll be posting about soon. This particular piece was sponsored by the local office of Google Fiber, which as I have mentioned before has been busy sponsoring outdoor art. The human figure was a piece by Brian Wooden, he of the headless well-dressed men. The picture below is a February 2017 Google street view image. You can also see it on Wooden’s Instagram page. Art comes, art goes.

Located at 118 12th Avenue South. The mural actually faces the 1100 block of McGavock Street, downhill from 12th. Most of the parking in the immediate area belongs to local businesses, though there is free one-hour parking a few blocks south in the Gulch proper, as well as paid lots. Make it part of your visit to one of the bars and restaurants within view of the mural!

WoodenMural

Littlebranch

LittleBranchMain

For some time I have been thinking about blogging about the interesting stumps in the parking lot at 2nd and Lindsley. Is it art? Well, I never had to answer that question, because the folks at Littlebranch Farm added some murals and elaborate signs for a multi-media presentation, and yeah, it’s definitely art. The name sounds like some kind of urban garden or grocer, but in fact, Littlebranch is a high-end custom natural wood furniture manufacturing shop. Founded by Kelly Maxwell in Hamilton, GA, the operation moved to Nashville in 2014. While I’d like to think that what seems to be a musical note at the bottom of the Bristle Cone Pine in the logo (seemingly based on the photo at the top of this page) is a nod to Nashville, perusing their Facebook page and blog shows that the logo predates the move north. The image above is right at the corner of 2nd and Lindsley. The logo shows up three other places on the building (as seen in the slideshow), including the Lindsley facing front, the far southeast corner near the interstate, and carved above the front door. Also notable on the east side facing 2nd Avenue is a large photo of Maxwell and two of his crew members seemingly printed on the wall (see below). The photo was done by Brandon Cawood, though I don’t know if he’s responsible for placing it on the wall. That’s Maxwell in the middle, with Tyler Allen Dean (large black beard) and Jeff, the most recent hire. And hey, this is one of the rare chances to use the multi-media category!

LittlebranchPhoto

Located at 901 2nd Avenue South, at the corner with Lindsey Avenue. There is limited parking at Littlebranch, though it’s well worth visiting their gallery, so make it a full experience!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑