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Nashville murals, street art, graffiti, signs, sculptures and more

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Walls for Women: Miss Wynta-Amor Rogers

I’ve been featuring a lot of older art of late, so here’s something new. DMA (it stands for “Do More Art”) is a collective dedicated to promoting outdoor art, namely murals. Their first big project is called “Walls for Women,” which has seen murals go up all over the state this summer in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women’s suffrage, and of course it was Tennessee’s ratification of the amendment on August 18, 1919 that enabled its passage. All the artists for the project have been women, and the murals focus on women and issues from women’s lives.

The Nashville entry is by Sarah Painter, who did the portraits, and Cymone Wilder, who did the lettering. Painter is a Florida artist, while Wilder is based here in Nashville. Their mural is named after its young subject, Wynta-Amor Rogers, a seven-year-old Long Island girl whose participation in Black Lives Matter protests resulted in a viral video.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

The mural features the quote “They buried us but they didn’t know we were seeds.” That quote is also featured in a big community mural off Main Street I wrote about in We Are Seeds. It’s a variation on a line from the Greek poet Dinos Christianopoulos.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

The larger project is spread out across Tennessee and has many sponsors. The primary sponsor for this mural was Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, on whose wall in Marathon Village the mural is found. The curator for the project is Kristin Luna, one of DMA’s founders. In her blog announcement of the artists for Walls for Women, you can see just how white and plain this wall was before. It very much cried out for art. (Scroll down to near the bottom of the post.) Apparently this is the largest mural in the project. As far as I know, the portrait of an adult woman does not reference a specific person.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

Because of trees in the park across the street, it’s impossible to take a clean image of the mural straight on, but below is my best effort.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

Located at 1414 Clinton Street. That’s the address of the distillery. The mural faces the 600/700 block of 16th Avenue North, and the portrait of the adult woman sits at the corner of 16th and Clinton. There is some street parking on Clinton, and paid parking is also found on Clinton.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

Third and Lindsley Part 1 – Find Your Look

Just a few days ago, I featured a mural at the independent music venue The East Room. Today, it’s the turn of the venerable Third and Lindsley, which has been in operation for almost 30 years. The anniversary comes up in February, but in announcing their reopening for October 1, the management speculated about not holding the anniversary party until September, because they’ve been closed for six months. Let’s hope the re-opening works out for them. Any music venue shutting down would be a loss, but it’s hard to imagine Nashville without Third and Lindsley.

As any Nashville icon should, Third and Lindsley has art. In total, there are three outdoor murals, two relatively new ones by the artist who goes by Blue Hayden Art, and an older sign painted on a retaining wall. I say relatively – the two Blue Hayden pieces went in about a year ago. Both are part of a trend I’ve noted before, murals very specifically designed for people to stand in front of and get their picture taken. I’ve taken the title for my post from an Instagram post from the artist that shows people doing just that (swipe to the second picture).

This one is related to those paintings of groups of people with cutouts that you can stand behind and stick your face in. Here you stand in front, under one of the hats, grabbing one of the instruments. It’s really designed for a group to participate in, which make sense if you know how things work at Third and Lindsley. Crowds waiting to get into the venue line up in front of this wall, so for a show night, at least before social distancing, groups were already standing in front of this spot anyway!

I’ll feature the other two mural over the next couple of weeks or so. I once said I’d never do series posts again (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, etc.) but some projects really require it.

Located at 818 3rd Avenue South, at the corner with, you guessed it, Lindsley Avenue. There is very limited street parking, and a pay lot. During the day on weekends it’s easy to park at neighboring businesses.

The East Room

One thing the ongoing pandemic has not stopped is the outdoor art scene in Nashville. Certainly some commissions never materialized as some businesses cut costs and others closed. But new art is still appearing. A few months ago, this new mural appeared at The East Room on Gallatin. It’s by Matthew Depew, who also used the label “Popcorn Art,” and the mural carries the hashtag “#popcornmurals.” I don’t know why he uses that name, but the mural, which is on a set of panels, is highly textured. It’s depiction of a road leading off into a surreal landscape is reminiscent of the yellow brick road mural by Anthony’s Billups for The Griff Apartments.

There’s also a pretty impressive sign on the side of the building, but I don’t know the artist.

East Room Sign mural Nashville street art

Of course, like all our public venues, The East Room is struggling. As of press time, their calendar is blank, though they do have an announcement for a series of virtual concerts they are taking part in over the next two months. Recently, the Metro Council approved a $2 million grant to help keep small, independent venues afloat. The National Independent Venue Association is running a lobbying campaign called “Save our Stages” to try to get Congress to step in to save an industry that is in serious trouble. Let’s hope they are successful.

Located at 2412 Gallatin Avenue. There is limited parking on site for the other businesses in this building. Street parking is available a short distance north on Chester Avenue.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant (The Nations)

There are now at least three Kobe Bryant memorial murals in town – the ones featured in Strength and mourning and Kobe Bryant (Nolensville Pike), and also this one, by Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun, at the branch of Red Bicycle Coffee on 51st Avenue.  Like the Nolensville one (by José Fernando Vargas), it also features Gianna Bryant, Kobe’s daughter, who was one of the seven other people killed in that January helicopter crash. Also, like the Nolensville piece, this one features a quotation from Bryant. There’s also a wide geographic dispersal of the three, with one at Lafayette and 2nd close to the city’s inner core, another well south near Nolensville and Harding, and this one on the west side of town in The Nations, at Red Bicycle. It’s interesting that of all the celebrity deaths, this one has inspired so much art in Nashville.

Kobe Bryant Mural Nashville street art

Aka-Bashorun’s work should be familiar to anyone who has participated in the Downtown First Saturday Art Crawl. His gallery, DBO Gallery, which features his work and that of others, is in The Nashville Arcade, where many galleries featured in the crawl are found. One his Instagram page, you can watch a time-lapse video of him creating this mural.

Kobe and Gianna mural Nashville street art

Located at 712 51st Avenue North. The mural is on the north side of the building, facing Indiana Avenue. Red Bicycle has some parking, and a little further east on Indiana, there is street parking available. The strip of parking across the street from the mural is private.

One Way

Apparently, the Berry Hill Square shopping center has been having some trouble in its parking lot. The entrance off Thompson Lane is a little oddly designed, so it wouldn’t be surprising if traffic flow weren’t some kind of issue. So what’s the answer? Build a fence right at the entrance, and get a muralist to paint it. Or how about two, or even three? This mural is signed by Tarabella Aversa, and it features large images of lush flowers found in some of her other work, such as the murals featured in Flowers of Walden. But she must have gotten help from WHAT.Creative Group (Jake and Hana Elliot), as their signature is on the bottom as well. This went in back in February, and if you compare an image from back then to the mural now, it’s obvious it’s taken a little damage. One of the hazards of being in the middle of a parking lot, no doubt. Somebody probably backed into it.

Located at 718 Thompson Lane, right in front of the Applebee’s, and across the street from Guitar Center. It’s in a parking lot, so of course parking nearby is available.

Beer Strong (New Heights Brewing)

How can a mural on a little-used side street be seen by thousands of people every day? If that little-used street faces the interstate. Up on a knoll along Carrol Street, this Eastside Murals work faces I-40, on the south side of the downtown loop, at the very north end of Chestnut Hill. I only knew of it recently because I’ve been staying home a lot and I stay off Nashville interstates as much as I can under any circumstances. Because of the tight sightlines, it’s impossible to get a traditional straight-on photograph. I took the photo at the bottom of this post from across the interstate, through a fence (near Mulberry and 5th). If it looks a little fuzzy, it’s because I blew it up a great deal.

New Heights Mural Nashville street art

The mural features the logo and motto of New Heights Brewing Company. New Heights was founded by people who came from San Diego, CA, and the logo includes not only the Nashville skyline (with its iconic Batman Building), but also San Diego’s North Park Water Tower. The Chestnut Hill neighborhood New Heights is in of course has its own iconic water tower, at 4th and Chestnut. The mural doesn’t actually lie on New Heights’ building, which is located about half a block away down 5th Avenue. The building it is on, which has a large three-dimensional sign in its front yard that says “GPI,” is currently vacant.

New Heights Interstate

Located at 915 5th Ave South. The mural faces Caroll Street, facing north towards downtown. It’s most easily accessed using either 6th Ave South coming from downtown, or coming from Oak Street, off of 4th Avenue South. Street parking on Carrol is prohibited, but for the moment you can park in front of the GPI building.

The Tool of Tools

I’ve been watching this mural since sometime in June, but wasn’t sure if it was finished. Well it wasn’t, but a signature recently appeared, so I believe it’s finished now. It’s by Thomas Halloran, and he calls it “The Tool of Tools.” Halloran is a Boston artist who now resides in Berlin, so this mural is a sign of the extending reach of Nashville’s outdoor art scene. While it’s located on the side of the Nashville branch of Status Dough, it’s an obvious reference to the artist spaces and galleries in the complex at 919 Gallatin Avenue, which it faces. 919 Gallatin includes Delgado Guitars, The Red Arrow Gallery, Tournament Studios, and others, and is a major part of the East Side Art Stumble, East Nashville’s art crawl. Thus Halloran’s theme of the tools of creation and the hands that wield them makes good sense here.

Halloran also created a sign on the Gallatin-facing side of the 919 complex, and is working on a second “hands” mural on another 919 building. I’ll feature both later. There’s also a no-littering mural semi-hidden by 919’s dumpster – I’m researching who did it.

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Located at 921 Gallatin Avenue (that’s the address of Status Dough). It faces south towards 919’s parking lot, where parking is of course available.

Arrows Bike Rack

When this set of metal arrows designed to be used as a bike rack first appeared outside the late, great The Post East, I assumed it was part of the Metro Arts Artist-Designed bike rack collection. It certainly looks like it does. Of course, I should have known better, as the arrows were installed in May 2017, while the last Metro-Arts sponsored bike rack was installed in 2015. But who keeps track of such details? A tell-tale clue is the lack of a plaque describing the work and naming the artist – Metro Arts is very good about doing that. Fortunately, the Post East has not deleted its Instagram page, where they credit the artists they commissioned to do the arrows, Ferrin Ironworks. Ferrin Ironworks has been on this site before – check out the fence they made that’s featured as part of Dancing in the alley. I have to say that like the Metro Arts bike racks, I rarely see these arrows being used for their intended purpose. Right now they are hosting a banner indicating that Frothy Monkey East, which has taken over the space, is currently open under pandemic conditions.

My pictures are from last Spring, while this was still The Post East. In the featured photo above, you can see a sliver of the Oliver and Sinclair mural featured in Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co.

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Located at 1701 Fatherland Street, at the corner with 17th Street. Street parking is available.

Red Headed Stranger

The mural at Red Headed Stranger in the McFerrin Park neighborhood of East Nashville is one of the most understated of all of Nashville’s murals, which makes it a little difficult to photograph. It’s subtle, not loud, with its light colors and large expanses of white. It’s was made by I Saw the Sign las August, and is based on a design by Mode, a branding and design company out of Charlotte, NC. Red Headed Stranger (an obvious homage to Willie Nelson and the album of the same name) is a taco shop owned by the same people as Butcher & Bee. I Saw the Sign also did the sign/mural on the face of Butcher & Bee’s Main Street branch. RHS’s menu indicates that their tacos are all on flour tortillas, which is not usually my thing, but they have good reviews. To each their own! The portrait at the end is of a cowgirl with an eye-patch, so it’s definitely not Willie Nelson.

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RedHeaded Face mural Nashville street art

Located at 305 Arrington Street, at the corner with Meridian Street. Street parking is available.

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