nashville public art

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



Frankie Pierce Park, Part 2

Back in August, Anthony Billups of Music City Murals and Olasubomi Aka-Bashorun did a series of murals in the new Frankie Pierce Park. I wrote about the main one in Frankie Pierce Park, Part 1. That mural is on a long wall on the east side of the park, while this is one of two along a railroad underpass on the southwest side of the park.

Frankie Pierce Park is a green space that includes a children’s playground that was built as a public-private partnership between Capitol View, a massive multi-block development, and Metro Parks. It lies in a triangle of land between two elevated railroad lines that separate Capitol View from Capitol Hill.

It honors one of Nashville’s most important Black activists, J. Frankie 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.

It is her key role in the votes for women campaign in Nashville that is the subject of this mural. A parade of women in the long, white dresses of suffragettes dominates the scene. One of them carries a sign that reads, “August 18, 1920.” That was the day Tennessee became the crucial 36th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote. Of course, Pierce, as a Black woman in the Jim Crow South, was not able to fully exercise that right even after the amendment passed.

The mural includes a quote from Pierce: “We asking only one thing – a square deal.” (May 1920)

Pierce Quote mural Nashville street art

Below you can see it in context with the other underpass mural. If you were standing where this picture was taken, the main mural would be behind you and to your right. The park is to your right in this photo. You can see some of the Capitol View development on the other side of the railroad bridge.

Underpass murals 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 southern railroad underpass, right off of Nelson Merry Street. The easiest parking is off of Nelson Merry, which you can see in the bottom image, and at Capitol View.

Part 1 Part 3

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.

UPDATED: This has been painted over.

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.

A railroad runs through it


A national cemetery is not a place you expect to find much graffiti. Taggers are generally more respectful, and the public and grounds crew quite intolerant. But if a railroad runs through the cemetery, and there’s a bridge the railroad goes under, and that bridge is actually just off of the graveyard grounds, that’s a different story. Where Walton Lane sails over the railroad that splits the Nashville National Cemetary, all these conditions are met. The walls that support the bridge are fairly well covered. Some of the tags are quite familiar. “Mobe,” featured above, is the handle of an artist I’ve featured before, who does both commissioned and “volunteer” murals. The earliest date seems to be 2008, and it looks like some of these tags lie on top of others, so graffiti artists have been using this site for a while. It’s also, as you can see from the photos, used as a camp by homeless Nashvillians.


Located on the 100 block of Walton Lane under the railroad bridge, in the middle of the southern border of the National Cemetary, 1420 Gallatin Road South. Getting to this is tricky and bends the definition of public art. There is a spot about 50 feet north where the railroad track is level with the cemetery roads on either side. It is possible also to walk up to the west side and scramble up a “trail” to get to that area. The far eastern part, where the homeless camp is, requires either climbing up a four-foot wall, or walking down from Walton Lane. Trains do go through here, homeless sleep here, and the cemetery is right there, so be respectful and think carefully. Or maybe just look at my pictures.


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Under the bridge and dreaming

Graffiti tags street art NasvilleSometimes you’ve got to take a hike for art. I was driving north down 11th under Church Street when some color off to my right caught my eye. I could tell there was something interesting a few hundred feet away under the bridge, but it took me a while to find the path. Because these colorful tags require a walk down the tracks to get to, it was probably illegal, and it’s clearly a homeless hangout, but no art left behind means no art left behind! The side above is barely visible from 11th Avenue under Church, while the less colorful flip side below is probably visible from a very fenced-off lot on 10th, just north of where it goes under Church.

Located underneath Church Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, on the railroad tracks. To get close, park in the gravelly area off 11th just south of the Broadway bridge. You’ll find a large section of missing fence where you can get access to the tracks. Then walk north to the Church Street bridge. I do not recommend this, however. This is an active train yard, and though traffic is modest, it may constitute trespassing.

Graffiti tags street art Nashville

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