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The Gulch Dog Park, Part 6 – Allison Paoli

Paoli Gulch Mural Nashville street art

This is the sixth and last in the series I’ve been doing covering the murals in the dog park in The Gulch. In the summer of 2019, MarketStreet Enterprises, the city-appointed master developer of The Gulch, opened a contest for new murals for a dog park that was then still under development. The new dog park lies at the top of a hill on the west side of The Gulch, overlooking I-40, just uphill from the Turnip Truck. The artists who won the contest are largely new names in the Nashville mural world, expanding the roster of our local muralists.

This mural is the sixth from the right and one of two in this series that’s found in the part of the park set aside for large dogs. It’s all the way on the far left end of the dog park. It’s the work of Nashville artist Allison Paoli. Paoli is a difficult artist to research. That blog I linked to hasn’t been updated in four years, and her Twitter account has been dormant almost as long. I think she had an Instagram account at one point, but if so it’s been deactivated. I do know that besides being a visual artist she is also a published poet.

What this abstract piece is meant to be I’m not sure. It might be three very abstract dogs or something else entirely. Since Paoli stopped publishing on social media well before she did this mural, I can’t tell you what she might have to say about it. Nevertheless, it’s a bright, lively mural that brings some color and fun to the dog park.

Located at 1216 Pine Street, at the top of the hill. That’s the address of the dog park. There’s an alley that lies between Pine and Laurel Street that leads to the dog park entrance, and this mural is off to the left if you are coming up the hill from 12th Ave South. It’s the closest mural to Pine Street (though you’ll need good shoes to come from that way, given the steep hill). This is The Gulch, so plenty of parking, none of it free. Well, that’s only true if you stay too long. Most Gulch parking is free for the first hour or even longer. Check the signage at each lot and garage.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

The flowers of 5th+Broadway

One of the largest developments of late in the Lower Broad area is the massive open-air mall, food court, and office building known as Fifth + Broadway, or just 5+B. It’s certainly been a hit with tourists, and it’s often packed, particularly on the weekends, even in these pandemic times.

And every new big project in Nashville needs murals, doesn’t it? The mall area of 5+B is L-shaped, and off the corner of the ground floor of the “L” is a covered walkway with a massive flower mural by Tarabella Aversa. Aversa is one of our more prolific local muralists, and flowers often feature strongly in her work, such as the double mural she did for Walden on Gallatin.

This mural, which went up back in March, is even more intensely floral, jam-packed with warmly colored carnations, with shades of pink, purple, yellow, and orange. A giant mural like this one can be a bit overwhelming for the selfie-seeker, so Aversa has added a black diamond near the middle to frame your next portrait.

Flowers mural Nashville street art

I can tell you it works. This is a difficult mural to photograph, both because of the tight angles and overhead lighting, but also the people passing by and all the folks who want their photo with it. Many use the diamond frame, but some seem to prefer a field of flowers behind them.

Aversa also decorated some doors that are on the opposite wall from the main mural. The lighting for them is even more difficult, but I think my photos accurately represent what you’d see if you visited them. For other views, check out Aversa’s own post about the mural, which includes a shot of her working on it.

This quite beautiful mural and its smaller companions tell a larger story about what’s going in the mural scene in Nashville. Where there are tourists, there will be murals. Sure, murals go up for a lot of other reasons, but tourism drives a big part of the movement. And corporate sponsors are becoming more common. The vast majority of sponsors are still local businesses, but corporate sponsors are seen more and more, so much so that soon I won’t even bother to comment.

Located at the 500 block of Broadway. From either the Broadway entrance or the Rep. John Lewis Way North entrance, simply walk until you get to the interior corner, and you will find it. This is downtown, so lots of parking, very little of it free.

The Gulch Dog Park, Part 5 – Katie Tucker Gossett

This is the fifth in the series I’m doing covering the murals in the dog park in The Gulch. In the summer of 2019, MarketStreet Enterprises, the city-appointed master developer of The Gulch, opened a contest for new murals for a dog park that was then still under development. The new dog park lies at the top of a hill on the west side of The Gulch, overlooking I-40, just uphill from the Turnip Truck. The artists who won the contest are largely new names in the Nashville mural world, expanding the roster of our local muralists.

Like the piece by Joe Geis, this one is blocked in part by a fence, though not as badly as the one by Geis. This one is by Katie Tucker Gossett, a local artist who does a lot of face painting as well as portraits of pets. You’ll find her business home at CityWide Art. The mural is the fifth from the right and the first one in this series that’s found in the part of the park set aside for large dogs. Thus the subject, a pug, seems slightly out-of-place, but it’s a very cute pug and we can put its placement in the big dog’s park down to artistic license. Why not, right? And it’s not just any pug, it’s Oscar! Here he is posing in front of his portrait, in a harness that matches the blue background in the mural.

What’s that about never performing with dogs and children? Here I am, talking more about the dog than the artist. She’s actually done some other murals and signs in town, so you’ll be seeing her on this blog again.

Pug Mural Nashville street art

Located at 1216 Pine Street, at the top of the hill. That’s the address of the dog park. There’s an alley that lies between Pine and Laurel Street, and this mural is just to the left if you are coming up the hill from 12th Ave South. It is at the entrance to the part of the park for large dogs, near the middle of the whole dog park. It faces east towards 12th Avenue South and the Turnip Truck. This is The Gulch, so plenty of parking, none of it free. Well, only if you stay too long. Most Gulch parking is free for the first hour or even longer. Check the signage at each lot and garage.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 6

Spread Love

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a Music City Murals work found a little hidden away at the Capitol View project in a post I called Riding!. This is another of their works, just around the corner and much more visible. Unlike the “Riding!” mural, this one is signed, not just by Music City Murals, but also specifically by one of their artists, Anthony Billups. I had seen this mural on social media a few times in the last few months (it was put up back in January), but perhaps because Capitol View is not completely rented out and Google still hasn’t fully incorporated this massive project into its maps, folks were a little vague as to where to find it. If you think of the downtown Publix on Charlotte as the “front” of the building in question, this is on the “back,” on Nelson Merry Street, next to the entrance of the Residences at Capitol View.

The hands incorporate several Nashville icons, such as the State Capitol, the Batman Building, Nissan Stadium, and the Sheraton Hotel with its distinctive round top. The imagery certainly lends itself to the message of “Spread Love,” as the mural is titled. Billups himself used it in a heartfelt post about Nashville’s resiliency in the face of the March 3 tornadoes. When I went to photograph it, I had to wait for a couple who seemed to be clearly taking engagement photos in front of it (Mazel tov!). No doubt it will be the backdrop for many similar photos.

Spread Love Hands mural Nashville street art

Located at 1015 Nelson Merry Street. You can access free parking (meant for the businesses in the building) off the alley on the east side of the building, towards the State Capitol. Some street parking is available.

Flood

Somehow I’ve been writing about outdoor art in Nashville for four years and had managed to miss this rather large downtown mural. But it’s on Third Avenue South, which is not nearly as trafficked as 2nd and 4th, the main north-south arteries in this part of SoBro. It’s by two Tennessee artists, Erica Swenson and Stacy Ann Taylor. While it sits on the side of Diversified Equipment Company (which still has a prominent sign for the long-closed Shuler Business Sytems Inc.), it’s for and was sponsored by members of The Anchor Fellowship, which is on the other side of the parking lot (taking this picture, I had my back to the church). Swenson, who first came to Nashville as an intern for Michael Cooper at Murals and More, was a member of Anchor when work on the mural began in 2008, and members of the church raised money for the project. “Flood,” as she calls it, took time. A blog post from Taylor dated October 2011 indicates that she and Swenson were still working on it at that point, but it was probably finshed not long after that. Its age shows, and there has been some minor flaking.

On her website, Swenson describes the mural:

Mesmerizing waves riot into the parking lot, drawing the viewer out into the sublime sea. The arches provide a comforting shelter from the vastness on the horizon. Their ruined state invite the imagination to contemplate what was, what could have been, and what is. Trees on either side facilitate a transition between the ancient, man made structure and the reclaiming elements of nature. They merge with the purpose of the pillars, possessing the ambition to hold up the sky. Although the cathedral walls are no more,the grandness behind the arches now is so much greater than what could have been before.

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The figures in the columns are the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus, St. Peter (identifiable by his keys), adult Jesus, and St. Francis of Assisi (identifiable by dress and the bird in his hand).

The same team also did a large Noah-themed mural at Inglewood Baptist Church, but I’ve been reluctant to put it on the blog, as you need to be deep on church property and on their playground to see it clearly.

This mural is located at 635 Third Avenue South. The mural faces north, towards downtown and towards the church. As long as the church parking lot is not taken up by parishoners, there is parking there. Otherwise, there is street parking on Third.

Candy Hearts

I have written in the past about the relationship between bachelorettes and murals, but this is the only mural I’m aware of that is very specifically for and about bachelorettes. The usual relationship, which I first became fully aware of because of a 2018 Buzzfeed article about the Nashville bachelorette phenomenon, is fairly simple. A business puts up a mural to attract tourists, mainly bachelorettes, who get their picture taken in front of it and check in on social media. This encourages neighboring businesses to do the same thing, and before long all the tourist districts have lots of murals.

But this mural has a different story. It was sponsored by both The Bach Party, a bachelorette party-planning service, and Finnleys Boutique, a local fashion chain geared towards young women, of the same demographic as most bachelorettes. Finnleys and Bach provided a design, which was produced by Bryson Leach, a Columbia artist. The candy hearts all have phrases one might associate with the stereotypical Nashville bachelorette (that’s actually a  very benign article) and on Bach’s Instagram account, you can watch a video montage of folks in front of the mural, about 95% of whom seem to be bachelorettes. It’s perhaps an inflection moment in the mural movement in Nashville, but unfortunately for Bach and Finnleys, it went up in early February, just a little more than a month before the shutdown.

I wanted to push back on Bach and Finnleys using the #CandyHeartGulch hashtag. This is the first I’ve heard of Eighth Avenue being part of The Gulch. But the Gulch Bussiness Improvement District set up by the city in 2008 includes everything south of Broadway and between the interstate and the railroad tracks, which takes it down Division Street all the way to Frugal MacDoogal. Way back when no one went to The Gulch except to go to The Station Inn, The Gulch was 11th and 12th south of Broadway, and no one else wanted any part of it. Well, the city may say MacDoogal’s is in The Gulch (funny, it’s on a hill) but I don’t care what any developer says, there is no such thing as “North Gulch.” It’s Hell’s Half Acre, thank you.

Located at 601 8th Avenue South, immediately south of the railroad underpass. The mural faces north towards Broadway. This is downtown, so parking is generally not free, though if you scour around, there are a few free places nearby. Also, the highrises in The Gulch proper a couple blocks away have free parking for an hour or more.

Riding!

Tucked away on the back side of Block E of the massive Capitol View project is this charming mural of a kid on a trike by Music City Murals. Though sort of hidden in an alleyway between the building and a raised railway track, the subject is appropriate, for there’s a short tunnel just across the alley that leads to Frankie Pierce Park, a green space that includes a children’s playground that was built as a public-private partnership between Capitol View and Metro ParksPierce was a civil rights activist who played an important part in the women’s suffrage movement in Nashville. The mural is one of three that Music City Murals has done for Capitol View, the other two in much more visible places. They’ll be on the blog soon. The hardest part of researching this (since I already knew who had done this unsigned mural) was working out exactly where it is on a map. Google Maps, as of this publication, has still not fully incorporated this relatively new development project. Google wants you to believe this patch of land is on the border between “North Gulch” (ugh) and Hope Gardens, but long-time locals know that it’s Hells Half-Acre.

Tricycle Kid mural Nashville street art

Located at 500 11th Avenue North. That’s the address of Block E of the Capitol View development, the building the mural is located on. The mural is found in an ally/driveway that separates Block E from the raised railroad that lies to the east, in the direction of the Capitol. The alley runs between Nelson Merry Street and LifeWay Plaza. The mural faces south, towards Nelson Merry, and is about in the middle of the block. There is plenty of parking available in the complex’s garages.

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