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Hands of creation

I seem to be on a bit of roll with religiously-themed art on churches, having recently done Set Free and Hands of charity. But, it’s also obvious that churches in Nashville are beginning to branch out with their visual presentation, jumping into Nashville’s mural scene. Zeal Church on Charlotte has recently gotten into the game. The work is by a Texas artist named Chloe Bennett (not to be confused with the actress Chloe Bennet, whose name only has one “t” in it). Two easily recognized themes are included, the hands of God and Adam found in Michelangelo’sThe Creation of Adam“(1512) found on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, floating before a stylized Nashville skyline. Unlike many other depictions of Nashville’s skyline, this work does not depict the skyline in full, but rather just a few recognizable buildings, including, of course, the Batman Building (cleverly including a door on the wall). To my knowledge, this is Bennett’s only work in Nashville. The Zeal pastor, Jd Ost, studied in Texas and that may be the connection. Zeal also has a giant “Z” on its east wall (see below). I don’t know who did it, but there is a picture of the artists working on it on Zeal’s Instagram page. UPDATE: I have since learned that Bennett also did the “Z.”

Zeal Z sign street art Nashville

Zeal is also aware of the social media game. On the sidewalk in front of Bennett’s mural, there’s a helpfully placed box where you should stand to get an ideal photo (see below). You know, in case you weren’t sure.

Zeal Instagram sign street art Nashville

Located at 5807 Charlotte Pike. The mural is on the north side of the church facing Charlotte. The church and the nearby Kroger have plenty of parking.

Hands of charity

Hands mural street art Nashville

For decades, there’s been a homeless encampment hidden under the Spring Street bridge near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Main Street. The city knocks it down from time to time, but it always gets rebuilt. And for over 35 years, a church nearby, Holy Name Catholic Church, housed in the building that hosts this mural, has provided meals for the homeless, both from the camp and elsewhere. The Loaves and Fishes program was founded by Father Charles Strobel, who first opened the doors of the church to the homeless in the winter of ’85-’86 when, after a recent round of the city tearing down the camp, some of its residents camped out in the church’s parking lot. This ultimately led to both the founding of Loaves and Fishes and also Room in the Inn, in which a number of Nashville churches cooperate to provide shelter and other services to the homeless. Recently, the parish center building that houses Loaves and Fishes was renamed in Father Strobel’s honor. Strobel, who retired some years ago, also recently received the Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award, one of Nashville’s most prestigious awards. (Seriously, check out the list of honorees on that page.) This mural, by the artist who signs his work “Little Stone,” shows open, giving hands in front of a basket weave, evoking a basket that might hold food, a perfect symbol of the church’s charitable work.

Located at 521 Woodland Street. That’s actually the address of the main church building. The Strobel Building (which is not yet labeled as such) is at the back of a neighboring parking lot. The mural itself faces Main Street, across from the Stacks on Main complex. You can often park in the church parking lot at Sixth and Main, though probably not during mass. There is street parking available on Sixth Street.

A saint among us


Religion has, of course, always been a major force driving humans to create art, and the Catholic Church has long been one of the world’s great art patrons. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and School is hardly the only church in Nashville that has invested in public art, just the first featured on this blog. There will be more!

Joseph, carrying his traditional carpenter’s tools, can be found at 1225 Gallitan Pike South, just north of the cemeteries that are themselves just north of Briley Parkway.

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