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Signs

La Elegancia

LaElegancia

For about ten years, La Elegancia has been providing fancy dresses for, as it says, weddings, baptisms, baby showers, presentations, and quinceañeras, the traditional party given for 15-year-old girls in Mexico and many other parts of Latin America. They also have decorations and souvenirs (that’s what “recuerdos” means). And that’s about all I know, as I have never been in and they seem to have no internet presence. That, and of course, that they have a very nice sign. They share the building with two better-known Latino businesses, La Hacienda Taqueria and La Hacienda Market and Bakery. On the La Hacienda side, there is a significant mural facing the parking lot, but I despair of ever finding without cars parked out front.

Located at 2619 Nolensville Pike. There is parking in front of La Elegancia, and next door in front of La Hacienda, as well as parking behind La Hacienda off Grandview Avenue.

Village

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Art breeds art. That seems to be very true in the burgeoning outdoor art scene in Nashville. When Darek Bell of Corsair Distillery and Bell and Associates Construction bought the Continental Machinery Movers complex on Centennial Boulevard, he told the Nashville Post of his plans to include art in the development.

To recognize the evolving character of the neighborhood, Bell said he plans to work with local artists to add a large mural on the building’s Centennial Boulevard face. He pointed to the Silo Bend mural, located nearby, as an “instant landmark that garnered national attention” as a model of sorts.

Village Realty is an early client in the building (that story is at this moment behind a paywall), thus the “village” of this very new mural by Eastside Murals. The mural references a number of well known Nashville sights: the Ghost Ballet sculpture (more commonly known as “the thing down at the river that looks like a broken roller coaster”), the sign outside The Nations Bar and Grill, the Betty Boots sign, the Batman Building, the Ryman, and our very own Greek temple, the Parthenon at Centennial Park. This is the first time I have seen the Stix sculpture referenced as a local landmark in a Nashville mural. Maybe people are getting used to it!

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Located at 4717 Centinneal Boulevard. At present, the parking lot is fenced though usually open. The nearest safe street parking is on 49th Avenue North.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

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Once upon a time, there was a muffler shop at 935 4th Avenue South called Tiger Muffler Center. It is no more. It would appear there is now an auto repair store at that address called Los Partners, though they don’t have much of an online presence. Why they or whoever owns the building decided to erase “muffler center” but leave the rest of the sign is unknown to me – maybe they just like tigers. It does change the meaning of the sign. Instead of telling us “This is the name of the muffler store,” it now says to us “Yes, that’s a tiger. The individual holding a muffler is indeed a tiger.” Ghost signs from lost businesses are of course nothing new, such as the Dutch Maid sign. “Los Partners” is an odd name, given that in Spanish the word for “partner” (as in “business partner”) is “socio.” Signs of an emerging hybrid culture, I suppose. The tiger image, however, must be considered endangered, like its natural counterpart, given that the store it supported is long gone. Check it out while you can.

Located at 935 4th Avenue South. This is a tricky place to park, particularly on a weekday when the businesses on this stretch are all open. The nearest street parking appears to be on 3rd Avenue South.

Bud’s Liquors and Wines

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I was going to call this post “a bottle of red, a bottle of white,”  but I already did that before. This Micheal Cooper mural, he of Murals and More, doesn’t show up in a lot of tourists’ selfies. Not many of them go to Bud’s Liquors and Wines, the liquor store on the back side of the Green Hills Kroger. But placed right at a key intersection where a major commercial district intersects with a wealthy residential area, it gets seen by a lot of people. The date on the mural is “6.09 (redux).” That implies it was remade in 2009. That makes sense. I’m not sure when I first saw it, but “before 2009” feels right. It’s certainly one of the survivors, an early mural that predates the current boom.

Located at 2139 Abbott Martin Rd. The mural faces Hillsboro Circle. Bud’s has parking, and in a pinch, you could park at the Kroger next door. Grab a bottle of your favorite and enjoy the art!

Pastaria

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Pastaria in One City is a branch of a St. Louis restaurant of the same name. Which is why the art outside the building was designed by Atomic Dust, a St. Louis branding agency. The script and figures of children are clearly much the same as from the original 2012 project in St. Lous. When the Nashville branch opened, Atomic Dust relied on 12 Point Sign Works and Brand Imaging Group for much of the local production work. There’s photo in this Atomic Dust blog post about the Nashville Pastaria projet that shows three men installing the mural above, one of whom has a “Brand Imaging Group” t-shirt, so they presumably did the installation. Since doing this work in 2017, Brand Imaging Group has become independent and is now know as Big Visual Group. It’s not clear if the “8” made up of words from a quote by Jane Jacobs is part of the Pastaria branding or not. The quote, which discusses urban design, would seem to fit the mission of One City, but as it also discusses children’s play, either is possible.

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Located at 8 City Boulevard, in the One City center, which is on the east side of the 28th/31st Street Connector, just south of Charlotte Avenue. There is free street parking and free garage parking. Grab some grub and enjoy the art!

An old key

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The scope of this blog includes not only murals and sculpture, but also “interesting signs.” And the sign for the old Key Motel definitely counts as interesting. There are at least a couple other of these old survivors on Dickerson, left over from the days before the interstates were built when Dickerson Pike, know also at US Highway 41, was the main route from the north into the city. Currently, the Key Motel is undergoing renovation, hence the fence. While it will reopen as a hotel, the developer is noncommittal as to whether he will keep the name, much less renovate the sign, so the future of this survivor is uncertain. Get your selfies while you still can. The southern side of the sign is actually in better condition, but it’s also partially obscured by vegetation. See below.

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Located at 1414 Dickeson Pike. On the weekends you can park at the school next door. Otherwise, your best bet is the laundry a little farther north.

Jammers Market

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Normally, I’m a purist about cars parked in front of murals. But I have never seen this mural without a car parked in that spot, usually pulled more far forward and blocking a good chunk of the left half of the mural. It’s apparently the official employee parking space. And as such, cars are really part of the art, ultimately. Jammers Market has no internet presence, not even so much as Yelp review. But it does have a colorful if to me largely indecipherable graffiti mural. A smaller tag on the right seems to read “”DBNER,” which might be what the brown and yellow letters say. Other tags include “IPCTW” and what might be “Kaos Ink” and “Fdc.” Kaos Ink leads to some tattoo parlors in other countries, but I doubt that has anything to do with this.

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Located at 1519 Jones Avenue, at the corner with Chickasaw Avenue. There is parking at the market, and there is street parking across the street on Chickasaw.

East

East

Sometimes I feature old signs. Sometimes I feature graffiti hidden behind a building. Sometimes I feature a mural in some less traveled part of town. But it’s only one time I get to feature the single most prominent piece of outdoor art in Nashville. Sure, some of the downtown and Gulch murals are of a similar size, and the old man on the silo is definitely taller, but none of those are plainly visible from a stretch of interstate that sees about 130,000 vehicles a day. (See this page for traffic history data.) Located on the (surprise!) east side of the river a couple blocks east of I-24, the giant “East” sign on the garage of the Eastside Heights apartments was designed by Riley Carroll and produced by I Saw the Sign, Meghan Wood’s hand-lettered sign company. Because of the Allinder Plumbing Company building, the mural can only be fully viewed from the air, but its placement on a hill looking down on Nissan Stadium ensures that even without interstate traffic, it gets seen by a lot of people. Not really selfie material, unless you get the Allinder people to let you climb on their roof!

Located at 120 South 5th Street. It is a parking garage, but I’m not sure about guest parking rules. Otherwise, the nearest street parking is on Russell Street, on the south side of the building.

Lockeland Boutique

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The small brick building at the corner of Woodland and 16th Street has a long history. Starting out as an H.G. Hills in the 1930s, it became the beauty shop and salon Boutique Coiffures sometime around 1970. That’s what it was when I moved to the Lockeland Springs neighborhood about fifteen years ago. Of course today the building houses one of the best restaurants in Nashville, Lockeland Table, which opened in 2012. Thankfully, the owners of Lockeland Table kept the wonderful mural of the previous tenants, no doubt confusing the occasional tourist. It is also a reminder of just how much this neighborhood has changed, not just once, but many times. It is reminiscent of some of the older murals found in the Buchanan Street neighborhood. You can read a little more about the building in Lockeland Table’s press kit.

Located at 1520 Woodland Street. The mural is on the east side of the building, facing 16th Street. Street parking is available, particularly on 16th Street. Get you some grub and enjoy the art!

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