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Dolly by MuckRock

There’s been a spate of Dolly Parton murals lately. Sadly, the one by Bryan Deese was painted over right after I posted about it, but the one by Kim Radford still greets me whenever I drive down my street to get to downtown. And of course she’s on one of the fences by Scott Guion in Berry Hill. And now you can find her on Gallatin Road.

Jules Muck, who signs her work “MuckRock” is a New York artist who now lives and works in Venice, California. She has work all over the United States and around the world, and is currently touring the States leaving murals wherever she goes. She was here in mid-October to do the Dolly portrait, and is apparently travelling with a dog. (Scroll her Instagram page – the pup shows up in several places.)

Parton’s portrait is found on the south wall of Blue Door Framing, painted with poppies in her hair, as Parton is known to do. Parton’s hair spells out “Nashville’ and “MuckRock.” Muck also did some poppies on the front of the building.

(By the way, the funny crop on the lead photo is entirely a Facebook thing. They have really dumb cropping rules for shares.)

Dolly Parton Mural Nashville street art

Here you see them together.

Dolly Parton Mural Nashville street art

I imagine it’s only a matter of time before more Dolly murals appear in town. Wildflowers don’t care where they grow, after all.

Located at 2809 Gallatin Pike, at the corner with Burchwood Avenue. The main mural faces south towards downtown, while the flower faces Gallatin. Blue Door has limited parking, and it’s possible to park on the side of the building towards the back. There’s street parking a little ways down Burchwood.

Frankie Pierce Park, Part 1

As part of the massive Capitol View project off of Charlotte Avenue, the developers agreed to create Frankie Pierce Park, a green space that includes a children’s playground that was built as a public-private partnership between Capitol View and Metro Parks. It lies in a triangle of land between two elevated railroad lines that separate Capitol View from Capitol Hill. Real estate folks like to call the area around Capitol View “North Gulch,” but it used to be known as Hell’s Half-Acre, long a Black neighborhood, which was torn down in the mid-twentieth century.

Frankie Pierce Mural Nashville street art

Because of its history, it’s appropriate that the park be named in honor of one of Nashville’s most important Black activists, J. Franke Pierce.  Pierce was a civil rights activist who played an important part in the women’s suffrage movement in Nashville, and who opened the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls in 1923, which remained open until 1979. Her work for women’s voting rights is honored in the Alan LeQuire statue of suffragette activists found in Centennial Park I wrote about in These women came to vote!.

Frankie Pierce Mural Nashville street art

This mural, as well as two others nearby that I’ll post about later, is the work of Anthony Billups of Music City Murals and Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun, and it went up back in August. On his Instagram page, Billups discuss the fact that every day they worked on the mural, they were questioned by police. Billups, who is white, found himself needing to defend Aka-Bashorun, who is Black. Billups says that he has never been questioned by police on any project before, but police repeatedly questioned what Aka-Bashorun was doing. He says:

It was also apparent that when I showed up, the situation de-escalated because I am white. What if I hadn’t been there??

All this while they were working on a mural honoring an important Black activist.

Frankie Pierce Mural Nashville street art

Located at 130 Lifeway Plaza. That’s the address of the park. The mural is found on the south end of the park, on the left side of the eastern railroad bridge, right off of Nelson Merry Street. The easiest parking is off of Nelson Merry, on the other side of the western railroad bridge, at Capitol View.

Frankie Pierce Park sign

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

John Lewis, 1940-2020

About a month after his death in July, this mural of John Lewis appeared on Lafayette Street. It’s the product of Charles Key, who signs his work JamersonSGC (and also at times Low Key Art). It seems appropriate to post this today, just a couple of weeks before the 2020 election ends, as well as the night of the last presidential debate. Key’s mural, one of many pieces he’s done in the neighborhood, makes good use of the architecture, with the peak above giving it strong framing.

Lewis of course was an iconic figure of the Civil Rights movement and the struggle for voting rights. The mural quotes one his most famous lines, taken from a June 27, 2018 tweet: “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Lewis was certainly not afraid of good trouble, and I can hardly list out all of his extraordinary accomplishments here. But I will recount two of my favorite anectdotes.

Before his death, Lewis was the last of the speakers still alive from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Martin Luther King Jr. gavehis famous speech. But the speech Lewis gave was not exactly the speech he wrote. As historian Angus Johnston explains, the Catholic Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle who was supposed to give the invocation (and others) found Lewis’s original draft to be too incendiary, and threatened to pull out. Lewis negotiated with King and A. Philip Randolph, one of the elders of the Civil Rights movement, practically up to the moment before he began speaking. Lewis accepted a number of changes, and here’s the thing – you would not have known it from his performance. He delivered the speech with all the passion he would have given with the original draft. He knew the fight was a team effort, not a battle of egos.

Another anecdote: When Lewis went to Comic-Com International in in 2015 to promote March, the graphic novel about his life, he cosplayed himself. He acquired a coat and backpack and other clothes like the ones he wore on March 7, 1965 when he led the people who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. At Comic-Con, he led children around the convention hall in a mini-march. He repeated this at two later conventions. (Here’s a couple pictures if you can’t get past the Times paywall.)

Located at 20 Lafayette Street. The mural is on the south side of the building, facing away from downtown. There is plenty of on-site parking.

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

Dolly at The Five Spot

This mural of Dolly Parton by Kim Radford is only a little more than a month old, but’s already made quite a splash. Lots of people have posted it to social media, and the Tennessean did a story about it. The pandemic has probably stifled its reach a bit, but pandemics come and go, Dolly is forever.

The mural came about in part out of social media. Radford had a deal to do a similar mural for a downtown honky-tonk, but when that fell through, she turned to social media, and soon The Five Spot, an East Nashville music venue near Five Points, offered its wall. Like a lot of local music venues, The Five Spot remains closed. If you want to help them out, they have a GoFundMe account. As of publication, they are at $23,000 of a $75,000 goal.

Right when Radford was doing the mural, Billboard magazine published an interview with Parton in which she expressed support for Black Lives Matter.

“I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she says. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”

Radford added part of the quote to the mural, starting with “of course,” and substituting Parton’s signature butterflies for the S’s in “ass.”

Kim Radford, by the way, only got really active doing outdoor murals in Nashville about a year ago or so. Since then, she’s become one of the more prolific of our local artists. In particular, she’s done a series of pieces for Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved Music I hope to feature soon.

This mural is on my street, and I might have put it up sooner, except that small parking lot in front of it is often full. You might have your best luck early in the morning.

Located at 1006 Forrest Avenue. The mural faces east, away from downtown and nearby Gallatin Road. There is street parking on the 1100 block of Forrest and other streets nearby.

Walls for Women: Miss Wynta-Amor Rogers

I’ve been featuring a lot of older art of late, so here’s something new. DMA (it stands for “Do More Art”) is a collective dedicated to promoting outdoor art, namely murals. Their first big project is called “Walls for Women,” which has seen murals go up all over the state this summer in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women’s suffrage, and of course it was Tennessee’s ratification of the amendment on August 18, 1919 that enabled its passage. All the artists for the project have been women, and the murals focus on women and issues from women’s lives.

The Nashville entry is by Sarah Painter, who did the portraits, and Cymone Wilder, who did the lettering. Painter is a Florida artist, while Wilder is based here in Nashville. Their mural is named after its young subject, Wynta-Amor Rogers, a seven-year-old Long Island girl whose participation in Black Lives Matter protests resulted in a viral video.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

The mural features the quote “They buried us but they didn’t know we were seeds.” That quote is also featured in a big community mural off Main Street I wrote about in We Are Seeds. It’s a variation on a line from the Greek poet Dinos Christianopoulos.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

The larger project is spread out across Tennessee and has many sponsors. The primary sponsor for this mural was Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, on whose wall in Marathon Village the mural is found. The curator for the project is Kristin Luna, one of DMA’s founders. In her blog announcement of the artists for Walls for Women, you can see just how white and plain this wall was before. It very much cried out for art. (Scroll down to near the bottom of the post.) Apparently this is the largest mural in the project. As far as I know, the portrait of an adult woman does not reference a specific person.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

Because of trees in the park across the street, it’s impossible to take a clean image of the mural straight on, but below is my best effort.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

Located at 1414 Clinton Street. That’s the address of the distillery. The mural faces the 600/700 block of 16th Avenue North, and the portrait of the adult woman sits at the corner of 16th and Clinton. There is some street parking on Clinton, and paid parking is also found on Clinton.

Wynta Mural Nashville street art

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