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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.

Dancing in the alley

In the alley that lies between Second and Third Avenue downtown, on 200 block, there is art. Most of it is courtesy of Herb Williams, who produced a series of dancers on doorways in the alley, as well as an abstract piece in one of the windows. Collectively they are called “Taking Flight,” and are based on images of dancers from the Nashville Ballet. They are filled with butterflies, not unlike his “Deer Dissolve” mural less than a block away, that’s part of the gallery featured in Guitars and Automobiles. This series came about as a result of a project by the Downtown Partnership, which led neighbors through a visualization session with images and samples of other city alleys and streets to see what might be possible in this alley. This led to repaving the alley and removing trashcans, as well as installing the murals and the wrought-iron fence, which was sponsored and designed by Anderson Design Studio and built and installed by Ferrin Ironworks. Ferrin also did the metal rose attached to the fence. The pictures above, read left-to-right and top-to-bottom, start at the northwest part of the alley and go down the back of Third Avenue, then turnaround and head back north on the back of Second Avenue. (The same order as the series in the slide show below.) In order, they are 216 Third Avenue North (turquoise on black and the abstract piece), 214/The Lofts at Noel Court (yellow on red), 212/Saturn&Mazer Title Services (shades of green with a raised knee) and 208/The Studio 208 (leaping man with yellow sticker). Going up the back of Second Avenue North, we see 215/The Hammonds Group (metal rose and leaping turquoise woman), 217/Anderson Design Studio (red and yellow on brown), and 219/The Market Street Building (shades of green on light grey).

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Located between Third and Second Avenue along the 200 block. Access is about halfway down either block, or from Church Street. This is downtown – plenty of parking, almost none of it free.

The lost art of Bongo East, Part 1

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One of the first murals in town that really grabbed my attention was this one and the one of a boxer next to it. It sat on the north wall of Bongo East, the Five Points branch of the Bongo Java empire. I tried to post about it before, but I realized the only photos I had of it were slightly out of focus (it’s most notable if you look at the signature and tags on the right). And I never got a new picture before construction started in the lot in front of it. I had hoped to photograph it again, as it seemed to be destined to face an open courtyard, but I saw recently that it had been painted over, a white blank wall taking its place. I suppose it clashed with the esthetic of the new building. Interestingly, it’s by Leah Tumerman, the same artist who did the bear mural on the side of Eastside Cycles, which replaced the mural in the banner of this blog, and was somewhat controversial, which I wrote about in one of my very first posts on this blog. This piece is called “Deeply Dimensional Women,” and you can find more pictures of it and close-ups on Timerman’s website. (Interestingly, her large photo of it also seems out of focus on the signature and tags.) The tags include one for Color Theory Studios, so Tinsley Dempsy likely was involved in getting this mural produced. The boxer mural you see in the photo below by Eastside Murals seems to have also been destroyed. It’s certainly blocked from view by the new building. I’ll devote another post to it later.

Construction

Located at 107 Sout 11th Street, or at least it was. The tomato-fist mural still exists, and you can see it from the sidewalk. I’ll post about it later as well. This is Five Points. There is free parking on some of the side streets, but you may have to walk a bit.

The Gallatin and Straightway Gallery (Part 1)

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Sometimes you have to start small. There are certain sites around town that are intimidating to tackle because there is simply so much art. One place I drive by a lot is Jerry’s Market on Gallatin and it’s impossible not to notice that it and the surrounding buildings have a lot of art on them. Get out of your car, though, and you’ll discover there’s a lot more than you probably realize. Jerry’s Market, Hookah Kings Lounge, Street Customs, and (to a lesser extent) Collision Repair Service are simply bursting with art. It’s way too much to manage in one blog post. So I.m starting small with this Dustin Spagnola piece. Spagnola is an Ashville, NC artist who has done a fair amount of street art. The flamenco dancer is a theme he has used elsewhere. He’s one more example of how Nashville is not just a canvas for local artists but has become a destination for artists around the country and around the world.

Part 2

Located at 1401 Gallatin Avenue, at the corner with Straightway Avenue. This Spagnola piece faces Gallatin, on the east side of the road. Some parking at Jerry’s, as well as some street parking on Straightway.

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