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Nashville murals, street art, graffiti, signs, sculptures and more

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Camino y Raíces/Roots & Routes

Roots

There’s mixed media, and then there’s mixed media. The sculpture of a stack of books at the Downtown Library featured in Heavy reading is made from stones from five continents. “Camino y Raíces/Roots & Routes” in Azafrán Park contains coins from no less than 77 countries. Azafrán Park, which opened in August, is the result of a partnership between Conexión Américas and Metro Parks and Recreation, among others. It sits on the north side of Casa Azafrán, where the Park building featured in Color me gone – soon once stood. It serves to provide a community space, particularly for children, in a section of town that has little open green space. This piece was produced by Jairo Prado in collaboration with students from the Opportunity Now program. As explained in this Nashville Arts interview with Prado, the students came from Glencliff, Nashville School for the Arts, Overton, and Hume Fogg. The mural, by its title and its coins from many lands, speaks to the different origins of many Nashvillians, particularly the immigrant community along Nolensville and Murfreesboro Pikes. Prado of course also designed and led the production of the mosaic that adorns the front of Casa Azafrán, Migration. The coins for this mural were collected at Casa Azafrán, in the community and even at the airport! This is a bit of an art hotspot. The mosaic faces the giant photo mural from Oz Arts Inside/Out, Part 1. The mural featured in Hidden away is really hidden now, as there is a concrete wall in front of it, but it can still be glimpsed from the side and through some holes in the wall. And there’s a mural on that concrete wall I’ll feature later, as well as some mobile giant snails from Cracking Art and a colorful block arrangement for kids to play on. All of it will probably be on the blog eventually.

Located at 2187 Nolensville Pike. There is parking in front and behind Casa Azafrán.

La Elegancia

LaElegancia

For about ten years, La Elegancia has been providing fancy dresses for, as it says, weddings, baptisms, baby showers, presentations, and quinceañeras, the traditional party given for 15-year-old girls in Mexico and many other parts of Latin America. They also have decorations and souvenirs (that’s what “recuerdos” means). And that’s about all I know, as I have never been in and they seem to have no internet presence. That, and of course, that they have a very nice sign. They share the building with two better-known Latino businesses, La Hacienda Taqueria and La Hacienda Market and Bakery. On the La Hacienda side, there is a significant mural facing the parking lot, but I despair of ever finding it without cars parked out front.

Located at 2619 Nolensville Pike. There is parking in front of La Elegancia, and next door in front of La Hacienda, as well as parking behind La Hacienda off Grandview Avenue.

Carne de calidad

CDSouth

Carniceria Dominguez is a very new Hispanic grocery store on Nolensville, opened by Rose Dominguez, who also owns a similar store of the same name on Murfreesboro Road. The art is pretty new too, so new that it’s not made it to Carniceria Dominguez’s Instagram page yet. (Maybe it will by the time you read this). I’m using as the feature photo a mural from the south side of the store and not the front, mainly because I like it a lot and also because it has a cow in it and the art on the front is mostly vegetables and fruit. The name is “carniceria” after all, that is, “butcher.” The work is by José F. Vargas, who had done art for a lot of Hispanic businesses, such as the work featured in Gotta get that bling! and Mi casa es su casa. If you speak Spanish, this video from Nashville Noticias can fill you in on all the things you can get at Carniceria Dominguez. Very enthusiastically, I might add.

Located at 3709 Nolensville Pike. The grocery has a fair amount of parking. Load up on fresh meat and vegetables and enjoy the art!

La Cocina Dominicana

CocinaDomincana

There’s been a bit of a theme of lost art recently on this blog, and here is another example, but with a twist. The vibrant piece above is alive and well and advertising Dominican food on Nolensville Road. But what is now La Cocina Dominicana used to be Carribean Express, with a mural I featured in I’m just here for the food. That mural also featured the out of kilter parking sign, but Grenadian symbolism has now been replaced with Dominican imagery. Sadly, I never went to Carribean Express. I don’t intend to make that mistake again. The mural here is the work of Jose F. Vargas, who has worked on other Latino businesses and who I’ve featured before in posts like Gotta get that bling!.

Located at 4407 Nolensville Pike. There is parking in the back. If you are new to Dominican food, try the mofongo. Chow down and enjoy the art!

Have I got a deal for you

SamsWarehouseMain

I have wanted to write about this particular mural for some time. It’s prominently visible if you are driving north on upper Nolensville Pike, it’s a weird mix of cheesy and minimalist, and it seemed to have been around a long while. What’s not to love? Sadly, there always seemed to be at least one car parked in front of it. So when I saw it car-free, I knew I had to get my shot quick. Sadly for this mural, the reason I found it car-free may also spell its doom. The furniture and appliance store whose goods it advertises has moved. Sam’s Mattress Furniture Warehouse doesn’t have much of an internet presence (other than a couple of bad Yelp reviews), but a sign on the door lists three new addresses, two for furniture and mattresses, one for appliances, all closer to downtown on Nolensville. The murals are as I guessed, survivors. All are signed by Mark E. Witte, a name I have not been able to track down. Witte seems to have worked fast giving each of them a separate specific date in April 2009. But they are out of order. Going left to right, they are dated April 26, 27, 28, 25 and 30. So he did the sofas first, then went back to the washing machine and worked his way back down the wall. Started on a Saturday, finished on a Thursday for a productive week. But with Sam’s closed, the fate of this mural seems uncertain.

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Located at 3312 Nolensville Pike. It faces south, towards Chilton Street. It is possible to park across the street on Chilton, and there is of course parking at Sam’s until developers get a hold of it.

Migration

MIgration

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

CarribeanExpress

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!

ColmenaFull

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!

ColmenaSignColmenaAbstract

Color, color, color! (And math.)

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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.

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