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La Rosa’s birds

While Charlotte Pike is bustling, it remains the mix of old Nashville and immigrant Nashville that it’s been for many years. Full-scale gentrification is hitting north and south of the corridor, particularly in The Nations, but Charlotte retains a lot of its older character. Meaning there’s a lot of local businesses and thus a lot of opportunities for outdoor art. It has the potential to be as prolific as lower Gallatin, but it’s not quite there yet. One artist doing his part is JamersonSGC, who frequently tags his pieces “Low Key Art” (though not this piece). Here his style is more loose and cartoony than the majestic work in Day Dreamin, which is perhaps appropriate for La Rosa Cafe, a night club and hookah bar that also serves up wings and pizza. There used to also be a frightened chicken on the front wall (which may be by someone else), but it has since been painted over (See below).

Located at 6317 Charlotte Pike.  There is plenty of parking here.

Obie’s no more?

Pizza Mural street art Nashvillle

Of late, Nashville’s “Rock Block,” located along Elliston Place, has been under threat. First, Gold Rush closed. More recently, there was a controversial move to rezone the lots at Elliston Place and Lousie Avenue, currently the site of three small buildings collectively known as the Louise Douglas apartments, to allow a 15-story hotel to be built on the spot. Such a building would tower over longtime music venues The End and Exit/In and radically alter the character of the neighborhood, not to mention eliminate some of the only reasonably affordable housing left in Midtown. After much public outcry, the rezoning measure was withdrawn, though the long-term future of the area remains uncertain. One troubling feature is the apparent closure of Obie’s Pizza, which lies in front of The End and just east of the apartments. It hasn’t been open in a couple of months or so. There is a sign on the door that says they will reopen soon, but the number at that link I gave for them has been disconnected, and there’s no sign of activity. So their mural, made for them by Tyler Z. Key, in all likelihood will disappear sooner than later. Call it endangered art. The mural has been edited at least once. On Key’s Instagram page, you can see that the mural once had a large signature at the bottom reading “TiiKii Art.” If you look close, you can see where it’s been painted over next to the blue hand. Key apparently decided to go with a more subdued signature, reading “TZ Key.” Either way, check it out soon while you still can.

Located at 2217 Elliston Place. The mural is on the west side of the building. There’s some free street parking in the area, but not a lot. You can probably get away with parking in the lot in front of the mural for a short time if you just want to grab a picture.

Soundbox

Soundbox mural street art Nashville

The little building on 8th Avenue South that once housed Edison Vacuum Company and has apparently recently become the home of XGTEES has long been a target for taggers. Graffiti tags would go up, and the owner would paint them over. Graffiti tags would go up again, and the owner would paint over them again. Rinse, cycle, repeat. Taggers are generally respectful of murals, though not always, so maybe this new piece by Eastside Murals will tamp down on that cycle a little. It is however probably a temporary mural, as it advertises an exhibit at the nearby Adventure Science Center, Soundbox. The interactive exhibit looks like a lot of fun, giving visitors the opportunity to play with all kinds of sound technology. And it’s the Science Center’s first new permanent exhibit in many years, so perhaps this mural will have some staying power. Also, don’t confuse Adventure Science Center’s Soundbox with Metro’s mobile park installation of the same name, which also looks like a lot of fun. It’s not surprising Adventure Science Center asked Eastside Murals to do this mural, as Eastside has done work for them before.

Located at 862 Eighth Avenue South. Street parking is available, and there is parking at the rear of the building. The mural is on the north side of the building facing downtown.

Striding and hiding

This one is just barely public art. Down at the bottom of the post is what you can see if you stay on the regular path. Maybe in winter, it’s a little more visible. It’s really a double that brings together two Nashville artists known for their stenciled solitary men, Brian Wooden and an artist who signs his work “For Becks.” Wooden does the usually headless men in suits (though sometimes not), while For Becks does the Lego men. Here, their work is found side by side. This grainy photo proves Wooden’s piece has been their at least a couple of years, while the For Becks piece is much more recent. They are not very accessible – if you want a selfie with one, there are easier places – just check the Instagram pages linked above. These are at the base of a platform that is part of the Rolling Mill Hill Greenway, itself part of a ramp that connects the City View Apartments above with the Nashville Trolly Barns below (that’s where Pinewood Social is). To get to it, start at the bottom of the ramp and either jump the railing, or at the very beginning of the lower part of the ramp, you can squeeze between the railing and a low wall for about 30 feet to gain access to the area where the mural is. And if you climb up the first part of the ramp, you’ll see some miniature Wooden stencils, these just of headless men in jackets, but no legs (see below).

Wooden Mini mural street art Nashville

Located at 9 Lea Avenue. That’s the address of the closest business, Emma, which is on the backside of the trolley barns, behind Pinewood Social. City View Apartments, up above, are at 500 Rolling Mill Hill Greenway, off Middleton Street. If you’re at the apartments and can see the Batman Building, head in that direction, keeping near the river. If you are at the Trolley Barns, head away from the Batman Building, towards the big hill next to the river with apartments on it. If you’re coming from below, the two large figures are above where the ramp makes an almost 90-degree turn before heading up. The mini mural is at the place where the ramp makes a U-turn. Parking is problematical in this area, but a lot less so nights and weekends.

Jerry’s Artarama

Of course an art supply store has a mural. This is particularly true if that art supply store is in Nashville. When the Nashville branch of Jerry’s Aratama moved from Antioch to East Nashville two years ago, it acquired a mural even before it opened. The mural appropriately features many of the colors you might want to create art from, pouring out of tubes of the primary colors, red, blue and…wait, yellow? Ok, not actually the primary colors. But you can get green from blue and yellow, so close enough. The main mural is a joint work by Hannah Holgate, who has been on this blog before, and Marshall Hall, who is making his debut here. Both Holgate and Hall work in the frame shop at this store. I live in this neighborhood, and pass this mural every day, so why has it taken two years to put this very obvious mural on the blog? I got pictures of it a long time ago, but after that, the artists added their signatures, so I needed new ones. And the combination of an empty parking lot and good light eluded me for months. But it is just as well, as I can add the tubes of paint Hall recently put in every parking space (minus the handicapped spaces). There are eighteen in all, and all a little different. This is a very art dense spot, and as a result, this may be the most image dense article on this blog! It’s worth noting that Jerry’s Artarama is a national chain, breaking the rule that national chains don’t so local outdoor art. But of course, this is an art supply chain, and that rule is beginning to break in Nashville anyway. The slideshows below are 1) closeups of the mural and 2) four sets of the paint tubes, running east to west. There are also some signs in the parking lot, painted on artist’s palettes. You might notice some pallets (not the artist kind but the moving stuff kind) in a couple photos – those seem to be a permanent feature of the site.

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Located at 713 Main Street. Obviously, there is parking, though you will inevitably park on top of some art. A good strategy is to get there before they are open (10:00 am every day except Sunday when they open at noon) and park next door.

Follow the yellow brick road

Is Nashville really Oz? It’s certainly an Emerald City in Anthony’s Billups’s mural for The Griff Apartments. The skyline is roughly what you would see looking south from The Griff’s roof, minus the yellow brick road and the poppies and trees. That’s Topgolf off to the left, and of course the Batman Building in the middle. Like the Eiffel Tower for Paris, all images of Nashville’s skyline must have the Batman Building. The brown building on the right is presumably the old meatpacking plant across the street from The Griff, which is in the habit of catching on fire. The mural decorates a utility box that would otherwise just be a concrete slab and is further evidence that more and more, Nashville businesses know they need art. Billups, who is part of Music City Murals, also did some signage in The Griff’s garage that is in a very different style (see slideshow below) from this mural. I could not discern a signature on the mural, but the staff, who informed me who the artist was, said that it is hidden in there somewhere. Maybe if you follow the yellow brick road you’ll find it and the wizard. I’m guessing the wizard lives at the top of the Batman Building.

Yellow Brick mural street art Nashville

 

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Located at 1390 Adams Street. The mural is actually on Taylor Street, on the south side of the building, facing Adams Street. The entrance to the garage is on the north side of the building, and the signs on the first floor. There is some street parking on Adams, and guest parking in The Griif’s parking garage.

Jefferson Street Gateway to Heritage

Like in so many other cities in the United States, when the interstates came to Nashville, the were driven straight through the heart of a vibrant and historic African American neighborhood, the Jefferson Street corridor. As part of The New York Times’s 1619 Project, Princeton historian Kevin M. Kruse spelled out the history of this terrible legacy, focusing on Atlanta but telling a story that applies just as well here. Stitching back together what was torn apart isn’t easy, but the Jefferson Street Gateway to Heritage is an attempt to move in that direction. Jefferson Street is chopped up by interstates twice, but the worst spot is where I-40 sails over almost two blocks, between 26th Avenue and where 24th should be. Perhaps appropriately, it is there where one finds the center of this ongoing Metro-backed beautification process that seeks also to address Jefferson Street’s history. One of the key figures in kick-starting this process was Dr. Learotha Williams, a history professor at Tennesse State University (and colleague of your intrepid blogger). In the first phase, finished in 2012, the design firm Edge led a community-driven process that led to a new plaza under the bridge, featuring columns with plaques honoring various figures from the neighborhood’s history, and a giant mural by James R. Threalkill and Michael McBride. The Jefferson Street this mural shows is geographically fluid (Meharry Medical College is shown next to TSU, not its actual neighbor Fisk University), but fully captures the dynamism of the neighborhood’s past and present. The focus is on Jefferson Street’s deep musical history, which is a recurring theme in other modern Jefferson Street murals, such as the ones featured in Guitar heroes and Back in the Day. The mural also features lost businesses, like the Ritz Theater, while linking to the present with a reference to J.U.M.P., the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership. The historic plaques on the columns (click to see some closeups – this story describes all the people featured) were done by FORMS+SURFACES and the landscape design was done by LOSE Design.

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Jefferson History mural street art Nashville

Located on the north side of the 2400 and 2500 blocks of Jefferson Street. The mural is on the east side of the site. There are also more history-themed columns on nearby blocks of Jefferson. Street parking is available starting at about 2600 Jefferson St.

 

This time in blue

No Selfies mural street art Nashville

There’s also one in pink, which sadly has been recently defaced. They are both tagged #JVNLSCCS which leads to the Juvenile Success Instagram page, which is Adrien Saporiti’s page. Saporiti is also the man behind DCXV and the I Believe in Nashville murals, some of the most Instagrammed and selfied murals in town. Because of its location, this one is a little hard to find and probably won’t attract as many selfies (but will attract some!) and also hopefully will be much less likely to be defaced. It sits on the back of the old Roxy Theater at the corner of Wilburn and Meridian, which is slated to open as a new music venue sometime next year. This small block of vintage buildings has been revived as a commercial district in the last few years, a sign also of the expanding gentrification in this area. There’s a lot packed into “No Selfies.”

Located at 827 Meridian Street. The mural lies on the back of the building, facing the building that houses AMAX Talent. Street parking is available.

With a Capitol View

Graffiti Capitol street art mural Nashville

It’s been a while since I’ve put any “wild” graffiti on the blog, but this one caught my eye recently and I really like it. That skull in the middle of the tag is common in Nashville graffiti. A good example is the one featured in Staying power. This tag was surprisingly difficult to research because it lies in the midst of a massive development project, Capitol View. Capitol View lies on the north side of the part of Charlotte Avenue that was recently renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, centered on 11th Avenue. When fully finished, it will take up six entire blocks running between MLK Blvd and Clinton Street three blocks north, while bordered by George L. Davis Blvd to the west and the railroad that roughly parallels 10th Avenue to the east. And about 10th Avenue – many of us have come to rely on Google Maps to stay up to date, but as of this writing it very much isn’t, (but it might be by the time you click that) and I could not make what I remember seeing jibe with the map. At one time, Gay Street crossed 10th Avenue and went under a railroad bridge to connect to a large, decrepit parking lot. That lot is now “Building E” of Capitol View and has a big sign on it that says “500,” as it’s official address is 500 11th Avenue. And the stretch of 10th that used to run between Nelson Merry Street and Lifeway Plaza? It’s been turned into an almost-finished park, that according to Capitol View’s Master Plan, will apparently be open to the public and linked to the greenway system. To get it, you have to go under the bridge, right where this graffiti is. Which means this graffiti probably counts as endangered art. Check it out soon.

Located just east of 500 11th Avenue. There is a driveway that runs between Lifeway Plaza and Nelson Merry and parallels the railroad, and the underpass where this is found is right in the middle of that stretch. There is an entrance to a parking garage right in front of it where you should able to park as a visitor for short periods of time.

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