nashville public art

No art left behind





Nolensville Road is home to some striking outdoor art, and one of the most notable pieces is the colorful tile mosaic installation atop Casa Azafrán. Casa Azafrán describes itself as “28,800-square-feet of community empowerment, nonprofit collaboration and global grandeur.” It houses several non-profits, many with ties to the Latino community, notably Conexión Américas, which helps Latino families integrate into the Nashville community. The mosaic, titled “Migration” and unveiled in January 2013, was designed by Jairo Prado, a Columbian born Nashville artist. The design and materials are in keeping with the traditions of both Latino and Muslim culture (there are Muslim community non-profits housed at Casa Azafrán as well). Tile mosaics have a long history in Spain, stretching back through the Moorish period of Muslim rule and into the Roman era. When the Spanish came to the Americas, they brought their tile mosaics with them, where they encountered an already rich mural tradition in Mexico and Central America. Both art forms, often intertwined, spread across Latin America, and it is only natural that they have found their way in such a bold and bright manner to Nashville’s main immigrant corridor. The mosaic also represents the community focus of Casa Azafrán. More than 300 volunteers helped cut and install the tiles. You can see some of the process by which it was made in this video.

Located at 2195 Nolensville Pike. There is a fair amount of parking at Casa Azafrán. If the front lot is full, there is also parking at the back of the building. Get involved in some community non-profits and enjoy the art!


I’m just here for the food


The truth is, I don’t know much about the food. I have not eaten at this new Grenadian restaurant on Nolensville, but what little I do know, it sounds like the real deal. Grubhub says one of their most popular carry-out meals is Cow’s Feet Soup. They have oxtail, goat curry, and pineapple Fanta! I think it’s Grenadian, anyway. That’s a map of the island, and those are the colors of the flag – except the blue. Not sure about why the north is blue. Regardless, the menu looks pretty good for anyone who loves authentic Caribbean fare. Did you notice maybe I don’t actually know anything about the art or the artist? Maybe after a visit, I’ll know more. Or maybe I’ll forget and just eat myself silly.

UPDATE: This has been replaced with a new mural, as this is now a Dominican restaurant. See La Cocina Dominicana.

Located at 4407 Nolensville Pike. There is plenty of parking in back. Just follow the arrow! The mural faces north and is quite visible from the road. Get you a glass of mauby and some curry and enjoy the art!


Quiero dulces, por favor!


This is a tale of two murals, side by side. One is a sign, done in a cartoon style, while the other is an abstract play with colors. La Colmena Mexican Candy has had a presence in Global Mall (formerly Hickory Hollow) for a couple of years, but they recently moved to Nolensville Road, offering, as it says, baked goods, ice cream, and candy. So, diet food! (As I like to say, I had kale for lunch – it was shaped like a patty melt and fries. Here, the kale is shaped like candy.) The beehive mural bears a strong resemblance to images you find if you do a search for “beehive clip art.” (“Colmena” means “beehive.”) If you are not familiar with Mexican sweets but like all things sugar, give it a try! Some of it is quite different from what is typical in the U.S., so you might find something new you love. (The title of this post come from a Spanish version of “trick or treat!”)

Located at 2424A Nolensville Pike, about a block south of the 440 exit. If you are driving south, the double mural, on the north side of the building, is very visible. There is parking in front of La Colmena, and makeshift parking around back where you’ll compete with the neighboring auto repair place. Grab some pan y dulces and enjoy the art!


Color, color, color! (And math.)


A recent edition to the stretch of Nolensville Pike north of I-440 is this symphony of color by Nathan Brown on the outer wall of Barber Woodworking (I had trouble with that website. Here is their Facebook page). Brown gives us a photographic diary of sorts of the process of putting this mural together. The pattern is based on the Fibonacci Sequence. If you look on his website or Instagram page you’ll see that this kind of playful use of geometry and color is typical of a lot of his work, though he works in other styles as well and is responsible for some other murals around town.

Located at 1911 Nolensville Pike, south of the Fairgrounds. Barber Woodworking shares its building with Dollar Club and some other businesses. The mural is on the north side of the building. There’s plenty of parking to be had.

Color me gone – soon


The days of this playful box of color on Nolensville Pike are numbered – and that’s a good thing. Conexión Américas, part of the Casa Azafrán community, recently unveiled plans for turning the property into a park. A quiet green space on busy, crazy Nolensville will certainly be a welcome thing. While this building, painted by some of the folks from Casa Azafrán, will disappear, plans for the park demonstrate that its multi-colored spirit will live on.

UPDATE: This building has been demolished.

Located at 2187 Nolensville Pike. Plenty of parking, both here and next door at Casa Azafrán. Stop by, visit the Casa, and donate to the park fund!


Another patriotic store


U.S. Discount on Nolensville Rd. is another example of the flag-draped convenience store. We’ve seen this before – I featured A very patriotic convenience store back on the Fourth of July, 2016. I do wonder if these stores, often run by immigrants, are trying to assert their love of country in a political environment that questions that. I suppose I could go inside and ask, but that’s a tough one. This is the south side of U.S. Discount, and there is another flag on the north side (second picture below). The signature is a little tough (first picture below). Looks like George Jalle or Jalli to me, but I have found no such artist on the internet.

Located at 1997 Nolensville Pike. The store is tiny, and has huge amount of parking by comparison. Stop by, grab a soda or a beer, and enjoy the art!

The Carquest Gallery, Part 1


This particular site presents a particular challenge. While on one side of the building there is a quiet road one can stand in with reasonable safety and thus get a direct, straight on view taking in the whole mural, on the other side – well the other side is Nolensville Road, and yeah, I may do many things for art, but standing in the middle of Nolensville Road with a smartphone taking pictures is not one of them. The work on the Carquest building at the corner of Nolensville and Elgin would seem to be at least in part the work of the same crew that produced The Vape USA Gallery down the road. The blank eyes of most of the human figures is a clear (get it?) giveaway. (Ok, it wasn’t much of a pun.) There are a lot of tags on these pieces, though how many are the names of artists and how many might be the names of the workers I don’t know. As I wrote this, it occurred to me that I forgot to check out the back wall. A quick glance at Google street view (first picture below) not only shows art on the back wall but also a completely different mural on the south wall facing Elgin. So not only is this another auto part store, it’s also an example of lost art. I will update soon after I go back and check out the back wall.

UPDATE: I finally got around to writing about the back side. See Part 2.

UPDATE: Some of this has been painted over.

Part 2

Located at 3317 Nolensville Road, at the corner with Elgin Street. There’s some street parking on Elgin, and if things aren’t too busy at the Lava Lounge Hookah Bar next door, you might be able to park in their lot for a spell. Just don’t stand in the middle of Nolensville Road!


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Hidden away

Street art mural Nashville
There is such a thing as hidden art out there. It does call into question the notion of “public art.” This piece is not entirely invisible, but it is in a place most people are unlikely to see it, on the south wall of a building that is part of A Plus Tire on Nolensville Rd, and set well back from the road. You’re not going to notice it just driving by. You really need to drive up into one of the neighboring parking lots to even find it, much less get a close look. It’s also anonymous — no apparent signature.

UPDATE: I believed I can identify this is as a project of Prado Art Studio, with collaboration from Casa Azafrán next door. It makes sense, given that Prado, home to Jairo and Susan Prado, made the beautiful 3-D mural on the face of Casa Azafrán and has worked with them on other projects.

UPDATE: This mural is now almost completely hidden by Azafran Park.

Located on the south wall of A Plus Tire at 2185 Nolensville Pike (not the one at 1936 Nolensville). Best viewed by driving around to the back of Casa Azafrán next door and walking through the gap in the fence.

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