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The Gulch Dog Park, Part 1 – Cassidy Bidwell

Having just ended one series, I start a new one. But this one will be shorter than the “Fences of Fame” series, as The Gulch Dog Park only has six murals and a couple of interesting signs. 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 The Gulch, overlooking I-40, just uphill from the Turnip Truck. The artists who won the contest are largely new names in the mural world of Nashville, expanding the roster of our local muralists.

Working from the north to south (north is towards Broadway, south is away from Broadway), the first mural we come to is by Cassidy Bidwell. Bidwell is a local graphic artist and illustrator. Her illustration work, like that seen in this mural, tends to be brightly colored and has a strong pop-art vibe. Though I don’t know when she first created it, the central design of this mural, the record on a record player with the slogan “Lookin Pretty Music City,” first appeared on her Instagram account last May. In that post she lamented how quiet Nashville had become in the early days of the lockdown, and looked forward to it becoming normal. While it certainly hasn’t gotten back to normal, Nashville is definitely nosier right now.

Based on pictures from the announcement of the contest, I think the rock was already in place before the mural went in. This is a smaller part of the park, which is divided into two sections, one for small dogs (where Boswell’s mural is), and one for larger dogs at the south end of the park.

Located at 1216 Pine Street, at the top of the hill. That’s the address of the dog park. This mural is actually close to an alley that lies between Pine and Laurel Street, at the north end of the dog park. It faces east towards 12th Avenue South. This is The Gulch, so plenty of parking, none of it free. However, most Gulch parking is free for the first hour or even longer. Check the signage at each lot and garage.

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 9

Travelling clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, the last fence you come to in the series of murals done by Scott Guion is also the largest of all the fences. Well, almost the last – the smallest of the fences is behind this one, and you can see it in the main photo at top. I’ll feature it in a later post. These are also the only two of these murals that face east. Like the all the others in this series, they were of course sponsored by the Nashville branch of the House of Blues, which has since been sold to the Universal Music Group. (That story has a picture of Guion working on the first fence I featured in this series.)  

The big fence seems a little worse for wear. It may simply be that it’s one of the oldest, but there is evidence that vines are some other plants were attached to it at some point, and the fact that it has greeted the rising sun for a few years seems to have faded it, and may have contributed to some of the flaking.

Like the other murals around the park, it presents an eclectic mix, though this one is particularly strong with heavy hitters. When arguably Neil Young or Louis Armstrong is the least famous of the group, you know you are dealing with some of the biggest stars around.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
Stevie Wonder, Merle Haggard, Louis Armstrong

The first three figures are responsible for writing and popularizing a large part of the American songbook. Guion here follows the pattern of the rest of the fences, in that there is no real pattern to the ages he’s chosen for his subjects. Stevie Wonder is shown appearing to be in his 20s. A bit more surprising are the portraits of Merle Haggard and Armstrong, both of whom are shown much younger than they are usually depicted, but of course both had very long careers.

Faces Mural Nashville Street art
Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Neil Young

Billie Holiday is shown with her trademark gardenias. The Michael Jackson image is based on a picture taken in the early 1980s. The image of Neil Young is one that has been widely circulated, and appears to be from about 1972.

Loretta Lynn, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Star, George Harrison

The image of Loretta Lynn is also one that has been widely circulated. It’s a publicity shot from 1962 by Michael Ochs. And while I couldn’t track down the precise image of The Beatles, it’s from around the same time, 1962 or ’63, making them all about ten years younger than Lynn in her portrait. And for the half-a-dozen people on the planet who don’t know, that’s Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill. 

Located at 2801 Columbine Place at the corner of Columbine Place (west) and East Iris Drive. The mural faces the park. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 10

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 8

Travelling clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, you’ll find at the northeast corner of the park a building with a small water tower in its parking lot. That building used to be the main House of Blues property of several around the park. I say used to be, because although I named this series after the House of Blues because they sponsored all the murals around the park which were done by Scott Guion, the whole complex was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group. (That story has a picture of Guion working on the first fence I featured in this series.) 

There are three murals associated with this building, two of which I’ve featured before. The mural above is unusual in that it features only one musical act. The only other mural in this series that features only one act is the garage door featuring B.B. King. It’s also unusual in that unlike all the other fences, Guion has not filled the fence end to end with portraits. Instead, he’s devoted almost half of this fence to a geometric pattern evoking flames. That may be because to really appreciate a portrait at the part of the fence farthest from the street, you’d have to be in the neighboring business’s parking lot.

Mississippi Sheiks mural Nashville street art

The musicians featured here are members of the Mississippi Sheiks, an influential country blues and string band group that recorded and toured in the first half of the 1930s, best known for the song “Sitting on Top of the World.” (Listen to it on YouTube.) The group went through a few lineup changes, but this portrait is of three of its key members, Bo Carter, Lonnie Chatmon, and Walter Vinson. Bo Carter was born Armenter Chatmon and was Lonnie’s brother. Another brother, Sam Chatmon, also participated in the group. Indeed, the Chatmon family had a long history of musicianship starting with Henderson Chatmon, the family patriarch who had been born into slavery. Mandolin player Papa Charlie McCoy (not to be confused the harmonica player named Charlie McCoy) also performed and recorded with the Sheiks.

It’s interesting that Guion has chosen to show them as somewhat see-through, like ghosts. The lake and forest behind them perhaps represent the Mississippi Delta region that they were from. The portrait is based on a photograph you can see here. In the original photo, the musicians are leaning against a wall, and they are photographed at an angle, while Guion’s mural is more straight-on.

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill. The mural peeking out from behind the Sheiks is this one.

Located at 517 East Iris Drive, which is the address of the building with the water tower. The mural is actually found off of Columbine Place, and faces south, away from the water tower. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 9 Part 10

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 4

Travelling clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, this is the fourth fence you come to (on the outer part of the loop). It’s also the first one that’s on what used to be House of Blues property. I say used to be, because when I started this series, I did not realize that the whole complex that had once been House of Blues was bought in January, 2019 by Universal Music Group. (That story has a picture of the artist who created these murals, Scott Guion, working on the first fence I featured in this series.) That of courses raises some concerns about the future of this art, but in the nearly two years they’ve owned the complex, UMG has taken no steps to remove any of it.

The artists featured on this fence are an eclectic group, as all of them are. Unlike the most recent fence in this series, some of these artists are still alive, namely Marty Stuart, Tanya Tucker, and the members of Outkast, André 3000 and Big Boi. The remainder are deceased and included Tom Petty, Fats Domino and Janis Joplin. As with the other fences, Guion is a little inconsistent about what age he shows these artists, even accounting for the ones who dies prematurely.

Faces mural fence Nashville street art
Marty Stuart, Tom Petty, Big Boi and André 3000 of Outkast

There’s a also a sign attached to this fence, with the slogan “I found my thrill in Berry Hill,” and obvious reference to Domino’s signature song, “Blueberry Hill.”

Berry Hill Sign Nashville street art
Berry Hill Sign Nashville street art

The art in the background is also by Guion. On the picture at the top of this post you can see a portrait of B.B. King on a wall which I’ll feature as a separate post later. Along the driveway that heads to the back of the building there are other murals, which I shot from the entrance to the driveway.

Presumably there’s more work in that parking lot, but you might want permission before going back there.

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.

Located at 518 East Iris Drive. The mural faces south towards the park. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 3

Travelling clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, the third fence you come to is one of the youngest. I know from happenstance that the artist, Scott Guion, must have been working on it October, 2017, because I have a photo of from thent where the sign portion (see the photo at the bottom if the post) is white, the sign not yet painted. It’s one of several around the park sponsored by the Nashville branch of the House of Blues. The House of Blues calls them the “Wall of Fame,” but for obvious reasons, I went with “fences.”

BH Faces mural Nashville street art
Bob Marley, Minnie Pearl, Amy Winehouse

This fence is not as dense as the first two, featuring only six artists. It’s also a bit more consistent with ages, showing all of them in the middle/leat-middle stages of their careers, expect of course for Amy Winehouse, who of died young of alcohol positioning. All of them are icons of their genres. We see our first artist on the fences who is not primarily known for music, but rather comedy, Minnie Pearl. Bob Marley, James Brown, Prince, and Waylon Jennings round out an extraordinary list. One thing that is different about this fence from the fist two, it’s the first of the fences I’ve featured in which all of the artists are dead.

BH Faces mural Nashville street art
James Brown, Prince, Waylon Jennings

The blue house in the back was also decorated by Guion, as was the bit of fence in the back ground you can see in the picture at the bottom.

BH Faces Sign mural Nashville street art

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.

Located at 520 East Iris Drive. The mural faces south towards the park. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

Tomato Art Fest, 2020

So much that is so different in 2020, so many things lost. For most of us, the social part of life has been greatly diminished since mid March, both on a personal and a community scale. Certainly, the raucous Tomato Arts Fest that comes to the Lockeland Springs neighborhood in East Nashville each August was tampered down a great deal by the pandemic. Instead of massive crowds dressed in red and green down at Five Points, a Porch Parade of cars, some decked out in green and red, brought the fest to the people, music blaring.

Of course, it’s an arts fest, and there was still tomato-themed art to find and buy. One piece in particular you can’t exactly buy but you can admire is this fence by Tarabella Aversa. It’s on 17th Street, which explains the “Love the One 7” motto. It’s not the first Tomato Arts Fest fence, those have been seen before, like the one featured in Robots don’t care about veggies. And it’s certainly not Aversa’s first fence mural. I featured another one by her recently in One Way. Fence art is becoming a little more common, and I’ll be posting more soon.

Hopefully, the Tomato Arts Fest will be back in all of its full glory next August. Whatever happens, I’ll be documenting any outdoor art it produces.

Located at 1800 Eastland Avenue. That’s the address of the house. The mural actually faces 17th Street North, along the 500 block, near the corner with Eastland. There is street parking available on 17th. This is a private home, so please be respectful.

House of Blues Fences of Fame, Part 2

As you travel clockwise around Columbine Park in Berry Hill, coming from Bransford Avenue, the second fence you come to is one of the youngest. It and the fence just to the east were the last two created by  Scott Guion for the Nashville branch of the House of Blues. Despite that, the people featured on it are artists whose careers mostly got started back in the ’60s and ’70s. The youngster among them is Jim Lauderdale, whose first album came out 1986. Like all the fences, it’s an eclectic mix of iconic artists from a wide array of genres, many of whom have crossed genres themselves. It’s also interesting that Guion has chosen to show these artists at different stages of their lives. Nina Simone, who was born the earliest of the group (in 1933) is shown relatively young. Meanwhile, Emmylou Harris, born a few years after Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, is depicted a couple decades older than both men. Also included are Gregg Allman, Jerry Garcia, Joni Mitchell, and Otis Redding.

Fence face mural Nashville street art
Gregg Allman and Otis Redding

See Part 1 of this series for why I’m just now writing about these murals. Spoiler alert: You can finally park in Berry Hill.

Fence Faces mural Nashville Street art
Joni Mitchell and Jim Lauderdale

Lauderdale by a decade is the baby of this group, born in 1957. Harris and Allman are next, both born in 1947.

Fence faces mural Nashville street art
Emmylou Harris, Nina Simone, and Jerry Garcia

Garcia seems to have a halo here, which is an interesting choice.

Fence faces mural Nashville Street art
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

Located at 524 East Iris Drive, which is the address of the building behind the fence, Premier Protective Services. The mural faces south towards the park. Parking is available around the park.

Part 1 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

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