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

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Temporary Art

Black Lives Matter

It’s no secret that the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has sparked a massive protest movement here in America and around the world. Not surprisingly, it has produced art. Perhaps the most widely shared example is a mural in Minneapolis done by Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Xena Goldman, Rachel Breen, Niko Alexander, Maria Javier, and Pablo Helm Hernandez. While I would not be surprised if there are others in Nashville, this one at the damaged Jerry’s Artarama on Main (above) and a similar one at Cobra Bar on Gallatin are the only ones I know of in Nashville at this time. I suspect others will emerge if they haven’t already.

This one is obviously temporary, as it is painted on boards covering a window blown out by the March 3rd tornado. Of course, my last post was about another mural on Jerry’s Artarama, but I feel this one is timely, and as construction is already getting started next door and a large disposal unit you see at construction sites has appeared just to the side of this mural, I thought it important to document it now. I also try really hard to credit artists, but this one is unsigned, and I suspect it is anonymous for a reason.

The happy-style letters belie the seriousness of the topic at hand. In my main work, I am a history professor, not an art blogger. I do not know why this particular incident has generated the enormous energy and the wave of protests that it has, while others like it before did not. My future colleagues will spend a lot of time sorting that out. Some reasons seem obvious, but one thing you learn in history, the obvious answers aren’t always right, or they may not be as important as they look. What history-minded people like me can do is document everything, so the full story can eventually be told. Already, the Smithsonian is collecting signs plastered to the fence around the White House so they will be available to researchers and the public in the future.

Below is a shot giving you some idea of how the piece fits with everything else on the wall. I took it at this odd angle because of the placement of the disposal unit. In it, you see murals by Andee Rudloff and Herb Williams, and the remnants of an older mural by Hannah Holgate and Marshall Hall that was severely damaged by the tornado.

BLM mural sign Nashville street art

Located at 713 Main Street. For now, the parking lot in front of Jerry’s Artarama is available, but once this becomes a construction site, that’s unlikely. The nearest street parking is towards downtown on Seventh Street North.

 

We Are Nashville – Main Street

The best view of the We Are Nashville installation at 916 Main Street is where the Holleman Transmission building used to stand. It was taken down by bulldozers, in preparation for new development. But the photographic mural features the staff of the local fashion line Molly Green, whose Main Street branch once stood next door to Holleman, and which was almost completely destroyed by the March 3 tornado. We Are Nashville is an anonymous collaborative that for the last two years has been documenting who Nashville is today. They have begun to put up wheat-paste installations of the resulting photographs, with QR codes that lead to their website where you can learn the stories behind the images. The start of their campaign to present these photos and stories to the city coincided with the tornado and its aftermath, so it makes sense that some of the early installations are about the people and stories of the storm.

Three stories are part of this particular installation – the destruction of Molly Green, the damage to a historic home in Donelson and its surrounding neighborhood, and the aftermath of the storm in North Nashville and Germantown.

In the center and the far left, we see the people of Molly Green, standing in the ruins of their Main Street store.

We Are Nashville mural street art
From left, Brandon Hartwell, Proprietor; Kelsey Wells, Web and Social Director; Brittany Hartwell, Proprietor; Heather Johns, Visual Merchandising Director; Jessica Lanier, Store Manager; and Mary Lokey, Stylist.

If you were to stand where the photographer stood now, you would see the mural to your direct right, as the Molly Green building has been leveled.

The left side of the mural includes a closeup portrait of Molly Green staffer Heather Johns, but it’s mostly is a portrait of ten-year-old London outside her great-grandfather’s home, David Young Sr. Parts of the home date back to 1870, and if you click on the Donelson story above you’ll see it was more damaged than it appears in this photo.

WAN Molly Green Left

On the right side, we see an image from the immediate aftermath of the tornado in North Nashville. Here, parishioners of the Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church on Monroe Street pray together after the storm, their badly damaged church in the background. (The We Are Nashville site does not identify the young man featured in the photo.) This same image is part of an installation at the largely destroyed Music City Cleaners building at Jefferson and 7th.

 We Are Nashville mural street art

A little ways away, about where I stood when I took the photo at the bottom of this post, there are three smaller portraits of Molly Green staffers. They are on the backside of Attaboy. The only deaths recorded in Davidson County from the March 3 storm were of two people who left Attaboy just as the tornado was approaching.

We Are Nashville mural street art
From left, Mary Lokey, Stylist; Heather Johns, Visual Merchandising Director; Jessica Lanier, Store Manager; and Brandon Hartwell, Proprietor.

These are obviously all temporary. Wheat-paste murals don’t tend to have a long shelf life. Like the recent also temporary installation at Jerry’s Artarama a few blocks away, they both memorialize the damage suffered from the storm as well as highlight the strength of Nashville as a community. There is something else about them that speaks to the temporary nature of all art. Just below the four portraits above stands the only remaining fragment of the largest work of art destroyed by the March 3 storm, the wrap-around mural by Eastside Murals that once covered all of Molly Green.

We Are Nashville mural street art

The photographs of the main mural also cover up an old graffiti mural by the UH Crew. You can see some of the process of the mural’s installation on We Are Nashville’s website.

Located at 916 Main Street. The mural faces east, away from downtown, towards McFerrin Avenue. There is street parking on McFerrin on both sides of Main Street.

Art among the ruins

When I wrote about the aftermath of the March 3rd tornadoes (What we lost in the stormStorm damage, Germantown and North Nashville) I said that artists would be an important part of the rebuilding of Nashville. Already that is clear – within days the Nashville Strong mural went up on the side of Boston Commons at Five Points on a wall exposed by the destruction of the storm. Another victim of the storm was Jerry’s Artarama on Main. The store’s front end was torn apart by the tornado that barreled down Main Street, devastating a mural that spread across the storefront, which had been done by Hannah Holgate and Marshall Hall.

The smashed wall was boarded up, with only scraps of the original mural surviving. Recently, two local artists, Herb Williams and Andee Rudloff, have turned some of that drab plywood into colorful art. Williams did the stylized Tennesee flag, with birds and butterflies circling the stars in the middle, while Rudloff did the colorful array of Picasso-style faces. Look close and you can see three remnants of the original mural in surviving brick columns. The two bordering the flag are a little hard to see as they fit in with the color scheme of the new murals, but the blue and white strip at the far right, which is all that’s left of an image of paint tubes, is more easily discerned. Piled in front of the flag is much of the rest of the remnants of the old mural. Below, you can see how the new ones fit in with the whole facade, and you can see more clearly the extent of the destruction and what’s left of the previous mural. Obviously, this is temporary, but then, isn’t all art, ultimately? When the building is restored and new art goes up, you’ll find it here.

Jerry's Artarama Murals Nashville street art

Located at 713 Main Street. For now, the parking lot is open. That may change when reconstruction starts, but there is parking at nearby businesses.

Soundbox

Soundbox mural street art Nashville

The little building on 8th Avenue South that once housed Edison Vacuum Company and has apparently recently become the home of XGTEES has long been a target for taggers. Graffiti tags would go up, and the owner would paint them over. Graffiti tags would go up again, and the owner would paint over them again. Rinse, cycle, repeat. Taggers are generally respectful of murals, though not always, so maybe this new piece by Eastside Murals will tamp down on that cycle a little. It is however probably a temporary mural, as it advertises an exhibit at the nearby Adventure Science Center, Soundbox. The interactive exhibit looks like a lot of fun, giving visitors the opportunity to play with all kinds of sound technology. And it’s the Science Center’s first new permanent exhibit in many years, so perhaps this mural will have some staying power. Also, don’t confuse Adventure Science Center’s Soundbox with Metro’s mobile park installation of the same name, which also looks like a lot of fun. It’s not surprising Adventure Science Center asked Eastside Murals to do this mural, as Eastside has done work for them before.

Located at 862 Eighth Avenue South. Street parking is available, and there is parking at the rear of the building. The mural is on the north side of the building facing downtown.

Sharp dressed man with roses

Wooten

I don’t often do very new work, but as this is a paper image in an outdoor setting, and is by nature ephemeral, so I want to post about it now before it’s gone. It’s a Brian Wooden piece and fits in a style we’ve already seen in works like the one I featured in Striding. Based on his Instagram feed, it’s a fairly new piece (that link is dated August 20) and there are others like it. You can even get a holographic sticker with the same design. If you want your selfie with this one, go soon. The paper is already peeling a bit.

Located on the 800 block of 12th Avenue North. There are railroad tracks behind Marathon Village. This installation in on the south side of the I-40 bridge over those tracks, facing Marathon Village. There is gravel lot right next to this installation.

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)

Wanda

WandaJackson

Wanda Jackson, the rockabilly legend, 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is going to be giving a show in a few days headlining the Muddy Roots Music Music Valley Jamboree at the Nashville Palace. Muddy Roots is big on murals advertising their music and their shows. There are at least three in the East Nashville area. As a concert mural, this is probably temporary, but it’s too grand to ignore. Jackson is known for wearing pink and playing a pink guitar, so it makes sense that artists Milton Chavez and Jason Galaz chose a bright, in-your-face pink backdrop. Go get your selfie before it gets replaced with another concert mural!

Located at 1309 McGavock Pike, on the side of Relax and Wrap Barber and Style (well, that’s what the sign says – on the internet, it’s known and Relaxing Wraps Barber and Style.) There’s plenty of parking here and across the street, though often full with partons of the Village Pub and Garden. Baily and Cato, sadly, has closed. Get a cut, grab some grub, and enjoy the art!

Sorry you missed the show

Concerrt Promotion

I’m normally a little wary about featuring concert ad murals. They get painted over quick. But this one is for a show back in March, it’s still there, the building seems only part occupied, and it’s a very nice mural, so who knows how long it will last? Still, we have to call this temporary art. BJ The Chicago Kid, Xavier Omär, and Kamau gave a rockin’ show on March 20th – or so I imagine! The artist is Bryan Deese, who has done a number of murals around town. He signs this piece with his website address, but that leads to a blog not updated since 2014. Try his Instagram account for more up to date information about his work. And if you go visit this one and it’s gone, you can still see a Bryan Deese mural across the street.

UPDATE: This mural has been painted over.

Located at 2622 Jefferson Street. The mural is on the west side of the building. There is plenty of parking at 2622 and nearby businesses. If the church on the west side is out of session, there is lots of parking there.

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.

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