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Memorial Day

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As it is Memorial Day, it’s a good time to present art honoring the fallen. The United States Colored Troops Monument (2006) by Roy Butler sits on a low hill in the Nashville National Cemetary. The cemetery was founded in 1866 to bury Union dead, though it has long been open to veterans of all conflicts. Some two thousand African American troops from the Civil War era are included in the burials here. The idea to build the USCT monument in part came from two African American veterans and USCT reenactors, William Radcliffe and Norman Hill. Hill at the time was head of the Tennessee Historical Commission, which became one of the major donors to the project. Also involved were the United Association for Black Veterans and Creative Artists of Tennesee. Butler used Radcliffe as the model, wearing his reenactment gear. You can learn more and see a video about the statue here.  This monument is one of only sixteen in the country dedicated to the USCT and only one of two found in a national cemetery.

Located at 1420 Gallatin Road South. To find the statue, go under the railroad bridge in the middle of the cemetery and then look to the left. The statue is central to the southern part of this half of the cemetery. There are only a handful of proper parking spaces, but it is easy to park along the roads in the cemetery. Please be respectful.

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Smokin’!

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If you go to Smokin Thighs, I hope you like chicken. Like, really, really like chicken. There are some non-chicken sides, and I imagine most of the drinks don’t have chicken in them, but you never know. But it’s not the smoked chicken inside but the metal ones up top that gets Smokin Thighs on this blog. Two metal fowl and two winking waitresses adorn the restaurant (and if you find their food truck, the winking waitress is found on it, too).

Located at 611 Wedgewood Avenue, within sight of the west entrance to the fairgrounds. Plenty of parking. Grab some wings and enjoy the art!

 

Swoosh!

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While a lot of art one finds in the open has been done for love, it can certainly help to have patrons. Here, the developers of The Flats at Taylor Place, SWH Partners, decided to add some drama to their modern apartment complex in Germantown. For this, they turned to John Medwedeff, who produced “Confluence” (2014) for them. It certainly makes a statement. Check out Medwedeff’s page – you’ll see he has a certain style. He knows what he’s good at and sticks with it.

The address of the apartment complex is 1515 5th Avenue North. Not that you are likely to miss it, but the statue lies between The Flats and 5th and Taylor, across from where Van Buren Street dead ends into Fifth Ave. Many apartments and condos and restaurants in the area, but street parking is plausible. Get a reservation at 5th and Taylor, or maybe view your next apartment – and check out the art!

There be dragons among us

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All you have to do in Nashville to find public art is just drive around. To find something you haven’t seen before, just take a corner you haven’t taken before. There’s a good chance you’ll find something. I’ve done a lot of that the last few days and have a fair amount of new material. Now, Eli the Dragon here is not new. It’s been gracing the front of the Nashville Children’s Theater since 2007. It’s just new to me. I admit I have been remiss and not gone to any productions at the theater, and it was only a trip to the Metro offices at the Howard School behind the theater that alerted me to this piece. It’s by Zophia Ann Kneiss, and has won an award from no less than the American Galvanizers Association for excellence in hot-dip galvanizing! Bet not many of you can say you’ve won such an award. The theater uses a dragon as its mascot, so the statue makes lots of sense.

Located at 25 Middleton Street, right out in front of the theater as you can see from the picture. Plenty of parking as long as there’s not a show, or you can park round back at the Howard School, and some street parking is available. And hey, don’t be like me. Catch a show sometime!

Oh give me a home

Buffalo statues street art NashvilleDown at the very southern end of Dickerson, there is a herd of buffalo. Sure, they’re bronze, but still, we’ve got buffalo! Installed in 2009 as part of a joint Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency and Tennessee Department of Transportation funded revitalization project for Dickerson Pike, they harken back to the road’s origin as a trail used by buffalo to get to nearby salt licks. They are certainly an eye-catching addition to the neighborhood. The artist is apparently a person or company named  “Cembrock,” but I can find no more information on that.

Located on the traffic island just south of the intersection of Dickerson and Grace, where First Street and Dickerson merge. Access is tricky, as you have to cross Dickerson on foot to get to the island. The nearest parking is at the Nia House Montessori school, but when school’s in session you’ll need to park at the convenience store at the intersection with Grace.

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Let me show the way 

Citizen statues public art NashvilleUsually, I would use photos taken in the light of day, but with Thomas Sayre’s “Citizen,” that would miss a lot of the charm, as they are lit up at night. This is “official” public art (it’s a Metro project), but not stuffy, for the statues are interactive, with giant cranks at their bases you can use to turn the statues around and point them where you please. Apparently, there were long lines back when they were installed in 2010, but they are more lonesome now, so go give them a spin!

Located in the unimaginatively named Public Square in front of City Hall at the corner of Third and Union, overlooking the river. This is downtown, so good luck with parking. Bring money! Make like a tourist and get a selfie with them as part of a Lower Broad crawl.

Justicia, Libertad

Justice and Liberty statues street art NashvilleOzment Law does not hide its politics. With a major emphasis on immigration law, it’s not surprising that the agency is not supportive of Donald Trump. As of the day of this post, the sign out front makes that very clear, taking him to task for profiting off of tax subsidies. What gets Ozment on this blog, however, are the two statues that guard the doorway, labeled Justice and Liberty, with their Spanish translations.

Located at 1214 Murfreesboro Pike. Plenty of parking. And even if your immigration status is solid, they do other kinds of law as well.

A word, a wing

Bird & Books statue street art Nashville
One of the first pieces to make me start to think about public art in Nashville is this bit of whimsy. I don’t know the people who live at 705 Setliff, but I do know they like public art, at least in their front yard. I wonder about the neighbors. Certainly, it makes directions easy. “We’re two doors down from the books with the birds and the Newton’s cradle. What? Oh, you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it.”

Located at 705 Setliff Place, just north of Eastland, a couple blocks west of Rosepepper and Jenni’s and Ugly Muggs. Some street parking on Setliff, easier if you’re willing to walk a bit. This is a private home, so be respectful.

Put another shovel on the fire

Shovel sculpture public art Nashville
It’s Labor Day, so I’m going to be lazy and use this photo that popped up in my Facebook memories from last year. This is official Metro-funded public art, part of a series of works called “Watermarks” commissioned in the aftermath of the 2010 flood. “Tool Fire” (2013), situated on the Shelby Park Greenway near the pedestrian bridge, commemorates the volunteers who helped clean out homes, and the tools they would pile at the street for other volunteers who came later, according to the artist, Christopher Fennell. Not everyone is a fan, but for anyone climbing up the spiral to the bridge, it means you made it to the top, and it’s a nice place to sit.

Located just steps to the west of the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge, on the Shelby Bottoms (west) side. The closest parking is on the other side of the river, at the trailhead on Two Rivers Parkway at Wave Country Wave Pool and the Two Rivers Skatepark. Or rent a bike at Shelby Park and head up the greenway and give that hill a try!

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