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nashville public art

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

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Storm damage, Germantown and North Nashville

Early Tuesday morning, March 3, 2020, a powerful tornado touched down at the John C. Thune Airport and the tore through North Nashville, going parallel to Jefferson Street but a little north, then ripped through the southern part of Germantown, jumped the river and tore down Main Street and through Lockeland Springs and beyond. In “What we lost in the storm” I chronicled as best I could what outdoor art had been lost and damaged in East Nashville. On Thursday I had an opportunity to explore Germantown and North Nashville, including the Jefferson and Buchanan Street corridors.

I was deeply concerned that these art rich neighborhoods would also have seen many losses, as I knew from reporting that the general destruction was similar to Main Street and Five Points, where much of the damaged art in East Nashville is found. I am very happy to report that this is not the case. With a couple of minor and one serious exception, all concerning pieces I have never blogged about before, the outdoor art of Gernamntown and North Nashville escaped the ravages of the tornado.

Above, you can see a blue tarp on the wall of the Christie Cookie Company building at Third Ave North and Madison Street. It covers an area where the bricks peeled off the wall. When I saw it on Thursday, there were already workers repairing the building (hence the Port-a-Pottie). I don’t know what it will take to repair the wall, but I have little doubt that Christie Cookie will replace the sign if repairs require it to be destroyed. I know that both Seth Prestwood and Eastside Murals have done versions (scroll down) of this sign, but Christie only shows a couple of tiny pictures of the artist who did this one. Failure to credit sign makers is a common error of companies large and small.

At Green Fleet Bikes, located at 934 Jefferson Street, their mural by Dough Joe is fine, but the tornado smashed the welded sculpture of junk bikes the graces the yard. To my, surprise, I never photographed it when it was intact. These two clips from Google Street View give you a sense of what it looked like in April 2019, though I believe it had been added to since and was larger than what you see here.

When I talked to Green Fleet’s owner as he and staff cleaned up the debris from the storm, he told me passers-by thought the smashed up version of the sculpture was all their good bikes mangled up and crushed together by the storm! The original was done by an artist who the owner could only describe as “an artist from Wedgewood-Houston” and had been added on to by staff overtime. The bus in the background, painted by  Andee Rudloff, survived the storm unscathed.

Bike Sculpture street art Nashville tornado

The greatest loss in outdoor art on the west side of the river is the loss of the R&R Liquor Store sign. R & R Liquor, located a little over a block from Green Fleet at 1034 Jefferson Street, had a decades-old three-dimensional sign not unlike the one at  Weiss Liquor on Main Street that was also lost. Nashville’s inventory of this style of sign continues to shrink. No doubt they are expensive to make and replace. Again, I never took a picture of it intact, so I include here a picture clipped from Google Street View.

We can be grateful that the art-rich neighborhoods of Germantown and North Nashville did not lose more, but of course, the damage to people’s homes and businesses was still tremendous. Nashville has a long way to go to rebuild. I know this town, and I know art and artists will play a key role in that rebuilding.

 

 

 

The Riders

Between 2010 and 2015, Metro Arts sponsored a series of artistic bike racks by local and regional artists that are now scattered around town. One of the first to go in was this one, The Riders (2010) by Seth Conley. Being based at the foot of the Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, it’s seen by thousands of commuters and tourists every day, even more on a game day. The sculpture is something of a cheeky visual joke, a set of peloton riders racing along to which you to can attach your very stationary bike. (A peloton is a pack of riders who take turns riding in front, where they are fully exposed to the wind, while those behind draft off of them.) I’ve featured a few of these bike racks on the blog before – rarely do you see any bikes attached to them. Those scooters in the back, however, had been neatly placed all around the bike rack when I went to photograph it. They beeped at me a lot when I moved them. The artist, Conley, took a little work to verify, in part because none of his other work looks anything like this. But on his artist Facebook page, where you can see much of his art, there is a picture of the work when it was barely halfway done. Conley hasn’t updated that page since 2018, perhaps because his current job likely keeps him busy – Senior Creative Art Director at Wizards of the Coast, the home company of both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. (His Instagram page is a little more up-to-date.)

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Located on the 400 block of First Street South, just south of Nissan Stadium and of Victory Avenue, across the street from the east end of the Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. This is in the middle of a giant parking lot. The only part that is reliably free is the part labeled “Cumberland Park Parking” right across the street from the bike rack.

Ride on

Bike mural street art Nashville

This mural is something of a survivor. It’s the work of Andee Rudloff, who’s done a number of murals and other art around town. It first went up in November 2016 (check that link for a list of several sponsors) on the backside of what used to be Eastside Cycles. The owner of Eastside sold the business early this year (see the pinned post) to MOAB Bikes. Meanwhile, the empty lot next door became Vandyke Bed and Beverage. What had been empty space on the one side of the mural became a wall. Both that wall and the parent building got a paint job, but the mural survived. However, at some point, it was damaged. I have forgotten the circumstances, but sometime last year Rudloff returned to repair the damage. The black and white bicycle rider in the middle covers the damaged area. Below, you can see what the original looked like. Given that the new owners are bike people, maybe this mural can keep rolling one.

Bike mural street art Nashville

Located at 103 South 11th Street, at Five Points. The mural is on the backside of the building, facing the Art and Invention Gallery. There is paid parking right at the mural, but with a bit of luck, you can find free street parking within a block or so.

Seeing Inside

Seeing mural street art Nashville

Sitting hidden behind some trees near the Rosa Parks Kroger is this Thaxton Waters piece, titled “Seeing Inside.” It is dated, but I’m not sure when it went in, as the date is given as a drawing of a cockroach and of a rabbit. I’ve tried to find a calendar that uses both of those symbols to no avail, but Google Street View shows it being there as early as February 2017.  Three named panels are separated by blocks of mandala-like patterns. “Connect” shows a young boy waving from his bicycle, “Grow” shows two hands tending a small freshly-sprouted plant, and “Unite” shows a person running behind a small dog. I’m a bit surprised this mural hasn’t gotten more attention, but it is somewhat obscured by trees and, and you’re unlikely to see it unless you park on the back lot of the nearby Kroger.

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Located at 1401 Ninth Avenue North. There is some street parking on Ninth, or you can park in the lot of the Kroger at 800 Monroe Street.

White line

RedkiteBike

Not all art is complex. Sometimes something simple is all that’s required. This visual shorthand for “bicycle,” found at Redkite Bicycle Studio, is direct and to the point. This is a place about bikes. Buy them, repair them, soup them up, get advice and encouragement on your next ride, your lifetime of rides. On that last point, there’s the blog and the podcast. These folks are serious about bikes.

Located at 1605 Gale Lane. That’s off of Belmont Boulevard, going west, just north of I-440. The mural is found on the east side of the building, facing towards Belmont. There’s a small lot at Redkite, and street parking on Gale and across the street on Oakland Avenue.

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