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

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A Splash of Color

For twenty years, these colorful dancing figures have graced the side of the Watkins Park Community Center. They, along with the mosaics and other figures that adorn the entrance, are called “A Splash of Color,” and were done in 2000 by Doug Stevenson, Ronnica Stanley, and Lynn Harroff.  I got their names from the Metro-Owned Artwork Conditions Assessment Report (pdf), but otherwise, I’ve been able to learn little about them. It’s likely they were associated with the community center at the time. Since then a tree has grown up that obscures the center figures, but otherwise, as the report states, their condition, and the condition of the mosaics, is quite good. Pretty impressive for painted wood exposed to the weather. And they definitely bring color and life to an otherwise drab building. Some differ, but I believe bringing beauty to public spaces is a good use of Metro dollars, though, in these tough budget times, we probably won’t be getting anything new for a while. Good thing these relics are holding up well.

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These are the mosaics and other figures at the entrance.

Watkins Figures mural mosaic Nashville Street art

Located at 617 17th Avenue North. The figures along the wall face south towards Jo Johnston Avenue, while the entrance is on 17th Avenue. The community center has parking, and street parking is available nearby.

Looking Pretty

This particular wall at the corner of Dallas and 12th in the 12 South district has seen a series of murals that Eastside Murals has played a role in. The mural promoting the American Heart Association’s “Nashville at Heart” campaign that I featured in Last year’s heartthrob was their work, as was the mural that followed – which I never blogged about. Oops – search for “#peacelovegooddeeds” on Instagram – you’ll find lots of pictures of it. This one they helped on, but it isn’t their design. The designer and main artist is Austin artist Emily Eisenhart. That it’s her design is pretty obvious from a quick look at her Instagram page. You’ll note the main theme seems to be people wearing blue pants. The mural sits on the side of a building currently occupied by one of the Nashville branches of Madewell, a clothing store that specializes in denim. Eisenhart also did a mural for Madewell in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, in the same signature style. The Nashville mural also had a community component. Students from Pearl-Cohn, an entertainment magnet school, came out one day last March when the mural went in and helped paint it. This is probably why under the word “Madewell,” it reads “Created in support of music and art programs in Metro Nashville’s public schools.” On Eisenhart’s Instagram page, you can find several posts about the production of this mural.

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Located at 2709 12th Avenue South. The mural faces south, towards Dallas Avenue. There is paid parking nearby, and street parking if you are willing to walk a bit. It’s fairly easy right now, but it will be harder when the pandemic ends and the tourists come back.

Warner Elementary, Part 2

A few weeks back I wrote about the mural on the low thin wall on the front side of  Warner Arts Magnet Elementary done by  Andee Rudloff and the Warner students and staff and noted it was one of two. Well, this is the second one! It’s on the backside of the school. As with the first, Rudloff work-shopped with students before developing her design. As is usual with her community murals, Rudloff did a black-and-white outline of all the images, and she and students and staff worked together to fill in the colors. Surreal scenes of students, teachers, games and a fair amount of whimsy make up the mural. Rudloff has been working with other schools around town, so keep an eye out for her signature style at your local schools and community centers.

Warner Elementary Mural street art Nashville

Located at 628 Russell Street, on the south side of the building, which faces Fatherland Street. The mural faces east. While the mural can be seen from the street, a closer look requires being on school grounds. You should time your visit for the weekends or after school hours. If more than one or two cars are in the parking lot on the backside of the school, it’s probably open. Parking is available in that lot when school is closed and on nearby streets.

We Are Seeds

The giant mural that appeared this fall on the back of Center 615  began as an idea to bring together the many non-profit groups in Nashville. Southern Women for Civil Rights planted the seed, as it were, for what became the We Are Seeds Community Mural + Block Party, resulting in the mural above. Center 615 offered its back wall, which is separated by an alley and a fence from the Parkway Terrace Homes, an MDHA affordable housing complex. For the SWCR and the artists who became involved, it was important to engage that community and not simply present them with a fait-accompli. So the artists, including Catlin Mello, Omari Booker, Elisheba Israel Mrozik and Woke3 (Here’s a photo set of them as they got started planning), began by engaging the Parkway Terrace community. Some of them worked with children from Parkway Terrace in portrait-drawing classes. As the mural began to grow, with the theme “They tried to bury us but we are seeds,” many of the kids from the community got directly involved, helping to paint and signing their names. The lower reaches of the mural are covered with names and even a few handprints. Some of them needed a little help. A few of the kids are even featured in the mural (see below). Adults and children from communities and non-profits from around the city also got involved. Painting the mural took about a month When the time for the block party rolled around (September 22, 2018), 500 to 600 people representing communities and non-profits from around Davidson county participated in games, put the finishing touches on the mural and shared free food and drink (provided in part by Center 615) – and maybe also bought some lemonade to support the Malala Fund. The mural itself demonstrates the diverse styles of the main artists. Woke3 did the waves, flowers, and tree on the far left of the mural, Mello did the lettering (with an assist by Troy Duff), the women in the center were done by Mrozik, and the children and flowers on the right were done by Omari Booker. All I can say is wow, and I’m sorry I missed the party.

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Located at 615 Main Street. The mural lies on the north side of the building (the opposite side from Main) along an alley that runs between North 7th and North 6th Streets. During the workweek, there are often cars parked in front of the mural, so it is probably best to visit on the weekend. Street parking is available on both Sixth and Seventh.

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