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Welcome to Donelson

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There is something a “mural district” in Donelson. Within about a block of each other, there are now four murals (and one lost mural), three of which are by the same artist. While the mural featured In Concert in Donelson! is by Randy L. Purcell, the new murals on the Greater Nashville Insurance Group are by Kristy Oakley of Where the Art Is, as is the mural featured in Paint the town. This building used to house a Nationwide Insurance agency, but with a new identity, it’s no surprise that the “frame” mural below has replaced the Nationwide branded mural that was once there and is featured in On your side. Like the mural in Paint the town, the main mural features local landmarks, such as the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge and Two Rivers Park. There are pictures of the mural being made on both Oakley’s Facebook page and the Greater Nashville Insurance’s page. The flower box was built by GNIG director David McIndoo.

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Located at 2630 Old Lebanon Rd. The large “Donelson” mural is on the west side of the building and the smaller “frame” mural is on the east. There is plenty of parking at this building and nearby businesses. Plan for possible emergencies and enjoy the art!

Violin dreams

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Looking like Don Quixote with a fiddle, this metal gentlemen with eyes searching the skies certainly seems to have weathered a lot of abuse at the hands of the elements – or maybe he was made that way. He sits by the side of the road outside of Dreamstreet Studios in Berry Hill, a business I’ve been able to find very little information on. This Buzzfile page suggests it is also called Dreamstreet Morganville Industries and is owned by Dennis Morgan. A little internet sleuthing turns up a book called “Pumpkin Head Harvey” by the Dennis Morgan who is in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and which was published by Dreamstreet Studios. So that mystery is solved, but not the question of who made this. There are two palm prints and what looks like “20 011 04” written in the concrete base but might instead be “2001 1 04” – or something else. Don Quixote might know, but he’s not telling.

Located at 2830 Dogwood Place. Unfortunately, it’s practically illegal to park in this part of Berry Hill. While there is a great deal of outdoor art, there is almost no street parking anywhere nearby and no sidewalks. Most of the local businesses have prominent “no parking signs.” I’ve been yelled at for parking at a closed business on the weekend. There is a small park on Columbine Place with a few spaces, but it has a sign reminding you it’s a misdemeanor to park at the park if you are not using the park.  This is not a neighborhood friendly to outsiders. There are just a few street spaces on Heather Place in front of Vui’s Kitchen and behind Baja Burrito. You might try Baja’s satellite parking lot on Columbine if it’s off hours, or the strip mall on the 700 block of Thompson Lane.

Fanny’s House of Music

FannysFullNorthFounded in the teeth of the 2008 financial crisis, Fanny’s House of Music has become a neighborhood icon that has gained national recognition for its place in the music business and its role in providing a comfortable space in music for all, particularly women and girls. The owners, Pamela Cole and Leigh Maples, both music business veterans. named their store after Fanny, one of the first significant all-female rock bands. They’ll sell you a guitar, and they’ll teach you how to play it, too. And they have art. The large painting is by Scott Guion, a New Orleans based artist. It features a whole host of female artists, like Suzie Quatro and Maybelle Carter, Dolly Parton and Joan Jett, and many more. You can get smaller versions inside. The Carter image on the mural is based on the same photo used as the inspiration for the mural featured in Carter Vintage Guitars (Part 2). Along the bottom of the house is a series of unsigned panels that are the work of Andee Rudloff. The text reads “Beauty is having the courage (explore) to be you.” [Parentheses mine]

Fanny's Guion Mural

Located at 1101 Holly Street. The murals actually face 11th Street. There is theoretically free street parking on 11th and on Holly and nearby streets. Good luck on the weekends and at night. A paid lot is across the street. I Dream of Weenie is next door in view of the art, so grab a dog, or buy a guitar, or both! – and enjoy the art. Warning – I got chigger bites taking photos in the grass in front of this art.

The Johnny Cash Mural

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Sure, there’s more than one mural featuring Johnny Cash in this town. But this was one of the first, if not the very first. Or at least, the original one on this spot was. Bryan Deese, Audie Adams and Ryan Shrader of Thoughts Manifested produced a Cash mural on this spot not long after Cash’s death in 2003. However, by late 2012 it was in very bad shape, so the same three artists painted a new Cash mural to replace the original (and I do not know how close the second version is to the first). There is a video of them making the second mural. Now six years on, the second mural is somewhat worse for wear, and it faces more threats than just the weather and traffic smog. The little building it’s on is surrounded by some very expensive real estate, and it’s hard to imagine no developer has any interest in it. If you want your picture taken in front of it, you might want to do so soon.

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Located at 300 4th Avenue South at the corner of 4th and Molloy Street. The mural faces Molloy. This is downtown, so lots of parking, almost none of it free.

Recycling

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Art comes and goes depending on the needs of the sponsors. When I wrote about the art on the old Turnip Green/Plateone building, I wondered what would happen to the Seth Prestwood (@moldymonk) pieces on the north and south sides of the building since both businesses had left. So far, the one on the north side is unchanged. Recently, however, Jason Galaz incorporated the piece on the south side into new work featuring the artists Pat Reedy, Alicia Bognanno of Bully and Joshua Hedley. I suppose that’s a fancy way of saying Galaz painted over Prestwood’s mural, but the remaining visible parts of the older mural make a nice framing device for the new one. Galaz signs the mural with his name and #MuddyRoots. Galaz has done Muddy Roots Records murals before, such as the one found in BBQ music. Reedy is a Muddy Roots recording artist, though I’m not sure what relationship the other two artists have to the label/music festival. Certainly, musicians make sense on this wall, as the building now houses a branch of Fond Object.  Muddy Roots has sponsored temporary murals before, like the one in Wanda, so it remains to be seen how long this one will remain in place. (The Wanda mural was on the side of the other branch of Fond Object, so there’s another link.)

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Located at 535 Fourth Avenue South. This is downtown, so not much in the way of free parking. There are paid lost nearby.

Carter Vintage Guitars (Part 2)

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On the south side of Carter Vintage Guitars is a mural of a giant guitar (see Part 1, below), while on the north side we find this quiet tribute to Maybelle Carter. It’s a Vermillion Murals production (professional home of Jenna Boyko Colt and Brian Law) like the mural on the south side of the building. The image of Maybelle is taken from a well-known photo of her with A.P. and Sara Carter. While the south side features a full Gibson guitar, here we see just the head. Walter Carter, who along with his wife Christie Carter founded Carter Vintage, has in fact written a book about Gibson guitars. (No apparent relation between them and the Carter Family.)

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Located at 625 8th Avenue South. Most of the parking lot you see here is a paid lot, unless you are a customer of Carter Vintage or Arnold’s Country Kitchen. There is a small amount of free street parking on 9th Ave and the street between Carter Vintage and Jackalope Brewery that seems to also be called Division Street (unlike the Division Street one block farther south), and there are other paid lots in the area. Grab some grub, browse the vintage guitars, and enjoy the art!

Another departure

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In what seems to be a new, ongoing series, yet another entry to file under “artwork endangered because the business is moving.” While the first two entries are from Yazoo Brewery’s building on Division Street, this time we are at Grimey’s New and Preloved Music, which will be decamping from 8th Street and moving to Trinity Road this fall. The building Grimey’s is in sold to a new owner, whose plans do not seem to include the iconic record store and music venue. All of which puts the future of this mural in question. Found on the patio of what used to be a branch of Frothy Monkey that shared space with Grimey’s, it’s a DCXV production. DCXV is the business home of Adrien Saporiti, whose best-known murals are the “I Believe in Nashville” murals scattered around town. Here we see a stack of amplifiers, maybe some turntables, and a couple of plastic crates filled with records (one of which has the DCXV signature). If you look close on the far right, you’ll see a coffee cup with the Frothy Monkey logo on it. File all of this under “endangered art.”

Located at 1604 Eighth Avenue South. The mural lies on the south side of the building, easily visible from the road if you are driving north. There is limited parking in front, more in back. Grab some records and some souvenirs while there is still time and enjoy the art!

 

Chet Atkins, C.G.P.

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Though a little off center from the main downtown tourist center, this work draws in the tourists who want their picture taken with the great Chet Atkins, if only in bronze. This lost wax sculpture titled “Chet Atkins, c.g.p.” is the work of Nashville artist Russell Faxon, and went in in January 2000, a year and a half before Atkins’ death. Various music luminaries paid tribute at the unveiling, including Eddy Arnold, who said, “I’m delighted to be here because I met Chet back in 1896.” Atkins himself promised everyone that, “I’ll come to your outing if you have one.” The statue was paid for by Bank of America, the major tenant in the building that looms over the Atkins tribute. So what’s that “C.G.P” about? Certified Guitar Player, a designation Atkins gave out to those players he thought “excelled far beyond the normal line of playing.” Only five men, plus Atkins himself, got the title. There is of course that empty stool, placed there so you could have your picture taken with the man. Many tourists do, and local folks who just need a place to sit can also be found on the stool. I’m sure Atkins would be happy to play for any of them.

Side note: I was so astonished to find the statue devoid of humans, I parked in a hurry and raced to take pictures. You can see my little red car in the header above, and there’s a better shot below in the photo of the back side of the sculpture.

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Located at 414 Union Street. The sculpture sits in a small triangular plaza at 5th and Union, in front of the Bank of America Building. This is downtown, so plenty of parking, virtually none of it free.

BBQ music

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Barbeque joints (along with their cousins the hot chicken spots) and music venues are all places where you have a good chance to find art. A lot of that has to with the fact that they are often local businesses, which are much more likely to sport outdoor art than corporate ventures. So it makes sense to find a music label advertised on the side of a BBQ restaurant. G’z BBQ and Catering (their Facebook page might be a better guide than their website) sports a hard-to-miss promotion for Muddy Roots Records, well known for its eponymous festival. The pig isn’t just a hint of the food inside, it’s also a long-standing symbol of Muddy Roots, and is found in a legacy mural just down the road I featured in The pig abides. The same artists involved in that one, Jason Galaz and Milton Chavez, did this one as well. Once again we find an example of the Batman Building used as shorthand for the downtown skyline, with the added touch of the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.

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Located at 925 Gallatin Avenue, near the corner with Granada Avenue. The mural is located on the south side of the building, easily visible to anyone driving north on Gallatin. There is a fair amount of parking at G’z BBQ, so get you some grub and enjoy the art!

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