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nashville public art

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Unusual

Time passes

Meeksmain

The story of the mural on what is now the Fond Object building is complicated, as it is not one mural, but at least four. Back in 2012, a community produced mural led by Savannah McNeill of Hey Wanderer went up. There’s a nice time-lapse video of its production on YouTube. Look for the “two hands” picture below (I think I got that image from Google street view, but I’m not sure). But that was only the beginning. A Tim Kerr portrait of experimental producer Joe Meek went up in time to get the “best mural” award in the Nashville Scene’s Best of 2014 edition. See the picture below with Meek but not Tom Petty. Then, in the aftermath of the death of Tom Petty, a Jules Muck portrait honouring him went up this year. And more recently, a tribute by Jason Galaz and Maria “Poni” Silver to the co-owner of Fond Object, Joe Pettit, was added to the corner. There was never any whitewash. Pieces of the original mural are still visible. And yet this rapidly transforming mural may meet its ultimate transformation soon, as the building itself is under threat, as the owner is seeking to replace the building with a major development. Whether this multi-layered, multi-artist mural can survive very much remains to be seen.

MeeksOriginal

MeeksMiddleAge

Located at 1313 McGavock Pike. The mural faces Riverside Drive. Your best bet for parking is probably the gas station across the street.

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.

Vinyl Bunker

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This blog is devoted to outdoor art, and the mural above mostly qualifies, as it is just inside the 5th Avenue entrance to the L&C Parking Garage and if the wind blows from any westerly or northern direction, the rain would definitely hit it. And why does a portrait of Pat Reedy grace a parking garage wall? Because in the basement of the same garage is The Vinyl Bunker, a record store owned by Jason Galaz (the artist who made the mural) and is also headquarters for Muddy Roots, the music festival and record label. And no surprise, Reedy records for that label. So, synergy?

Located at 144 5th Avenue North. The entrance to the garage opens on to the alley behind Downtown Presbyterian Church. Look for the giant mural of words (which I have not yet featured on the blog) – this mural is just below that one.

 

Maybe you’ve seen this one?

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I’ve often said I’m a blogger, not a journalist. Still, this is a pretty prominent mural, and it was finished almost a year ago. One issue has been photographing it. You would think something this big and visible would be easy to shoot, but given the industrial area it’s in, getting a good angle isn’t easy. And of course, that’s not whole mural – the rest is below. Sponsored in part by the Nashville Walls Project, the mural is the work of Australian artist Guido van Helten. (That website hasn’t been updated in a while. You can find his more recent work on his Facebook page.) Van Helten makes a specialty of giant portraits of people local to the community he is painting in. The gentleman featured here is Lee “LD” Estes, a 92-year-old lifetime resident of The Nations, the West Nashville neighborhood where this mural is found. The mural represents both the gentrification of The Nations and, in Estes, the longer traditions and history of The Nations. This article discusses that and has some good pictures as well. The silo itself is almost all that’s left of what was once Gillette Grain Co. Now its part of Silo Bend, a 38 acre development project of Southeast Venture that includes both housing and retail. Southeast Venture planned on keeping the silo from the beginning, and commissioned the mural, and now the silo and the mural feature prominently in the development’s branding. You can watch a series of day by day videos documenting its creation, and there’s also a time-lapse video for the whole project.

SiloKids

Located near the intersection of Centennial Boulevard and 51st Avenue North. The portrait of Estes can be best viewed from the parking lot of the shopping complex that includes a branch of White Bison Coffee, located at 5202 Centennial. Getting a clear view of the two children is tricker, and might be considered trespassing, though it’s not marked as such. Go north on 54th Avenue from Centennial, and cross the railroad track, turning right immediately. This is a construction staging area at the moment. The gravel road paralleling the railroad goes right up to the silo. No one stopped me when I did this. Hopefully, once all the construction is finished, proper public access will be available.

A very sturdy 4th

SummitFlag1

I don’t know who built this wooden flag at the Nashville office of Summit Roofing. Probably some of the fine folks featured on their Facebook page. But I bet it’s designed to hold up in all kinds of weather (as it should). These are roofers, after all. Happy 4th of July everyone!

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Located at 655 North Main Street (aka Dickerson Pike) in Goodlettsville, a few blocks north of the intersection with Riverside Parkway. The flag is on the north side of the building. Summit has some parking, but it might be better to park at the Phillips 66 next door.

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.

Have I got a deal for you

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I have wanted to write about this particular mural for some time. It’s prominently visible if you are driving north on upper Nolensville Pike, it’s a weird mix of cheesy and minimalist, and it seemed to have been around a long while. What’s not to love? Sadly, there always seemed to be at least one car parked in front of it. So when I saw it car-free, I knew I had to get my shot quick. Sadly for this mural, the reason I found it car-free may also spell its doom. The furniture and appliance store whose goods it advertises has moved. Sam’s Mattress Furniture Warehouse doesn’t have much of an internet presence (other than a couple of bad Yelp reviews), but a sign on the door lists three new addresses, two for furniture and mattresses, one for appliances, all closer to downtown on Nolensville. The murals are as I guessed, survivors. All are signed by Mark E. Witte, a name I have not been able to track down. Witte seems to have worked fast giving each of them a separate specific date in April 2009. But they are out of order. Going left to right, they are dated April 26, 27, 28, 25 and 30. So he did the sofas first, then went back to the washing machine and worked his way back down the wall. Started on a Saturday, finished on a Thursday for a productive week. But with Sam’s closed, the fate of this mural seems uncertain.

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Located at 3312 Nolensville Pike. It faces south, towards Chilton Street. It is possible to park across the street on Chilton, and there is of course parking at Sam’s until developers get a hold of it.

Migration

MIgration

Nolensville Road is home to some striking outdoor art, and one of the most notable pieces is the colorful tile mosaic installation atop Casa Azafrán. Casa Azafrán describes itself as “28,800-square-feet of community empowerment, nonprofit collaboration and global grandeur.” It houses several non-profits, many with ties to the Latino community, notably Conexión Américas, which helps Latino families integrate into the Nashville community. The mosaic, titled “Migration” and unveiled in January 2013, was designed by Jairo Prado, a Columbian born Nashville artist. The design and materials are in keeping with the traditions of both Latino and Muslim culture (there are Muslim community non-profits housed at Casa Azafrán as well). Tile mosaics have a long history in Spain, stretching back through the Moorish period of Muslim rule and into the Roman era. When the Spanish came to the Americas, they brought their tile mosaics with them, where they encountered an already rich mural tradition in Mexico and Central America. Both art forms, often intertwined, spread across Latin America, and it is only natural that they have found their way in such a bold and bright manner to Nashville’s main immigrant corridor. The mosaic also represents the community focus of Casa Azafrán. More than 300 volunteers helped cut and install the tiles. You can see some of the process by which it was made in this video.

Located at 2195 Nolensville Pike. There is a fair amount of parking at Casa Azafrán. If the front lot is full, there is also parking at the back of the building. Get involved in some community non-profits and enjoy the art!

 

Help Puerto Rico

SanJuanAngel

I’ve been a bit slow posting of late because of many things going on, but also because I’ve been a bit preoccupied with Puerto Rico. In early August this year, I spent eleven days going all over the island, including a visit to Culebra off the east coast. As you might imagine, I photographed a lot of public art. A lot. The street art scene in Puerto Rico is amazing. I have to say that while we have some very good artists in Nashville, we have a ways to go to catch up. While this is a very Davidson County blog, I decided to post some of my favorites here to encourage giving to Puerto Rico – and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This page maintained by Los Ambulantes has a lot of good options for Puerto Rico. I gave to Unidos por Puerto Rico, which is organized by the island’s First Lady (the link is in English). Here is a list of possible places to donate for the USVI, and this one seems to be run by the USVI government. Do your research before giving. Below are just a tiny fraction of my favorites. The file names indicate where they are from. I fear that some of these have been lost, particularly the ones near water. What I don’t show here is all the bronze statues. Puerto Ricans, or at least their government, looooooove bronze statues. They are all over the place. Obviously, not parking information this time. Go when you can, when it makes sense.

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