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nashville public art

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All aboard! The Sylvan Supply Train Mural

Train Mural Nashville Street art

After Madison Mill closed its factory off Charlotte Avenue and moved to Ashville, NC in 2015, the dilapidated campus of buildings it left behind remained empty for several years. With its abundant walls and concealed spaces, it became a favorite target for graffiti taggers.

In 2016, Stonehenge Realty Group proposed turning it into a mixed-use project with retail and 400 apartments, but this stalled after significant objection from residents of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, where the old factory is located. The following year, Stonehenge proposed a new project to be called The Millworks on Charlotte that would only be offices and commercial space, minus the apartments. This project also failed to come to fruition, and it seemed the site might simply be torn down.

However, in 2018, Third and Urban, a real estate development company out of Atlanta, took over the site with their own plans for a retail and office complex. Before serious construction took place, the soil itself needed to be rehabilitated after sixty years of industrial production. But this time the efforts to develop the site finally bore fruit, and in August 2020, it opened as Sylvan Supply.

Which finally brings us to our mural. This dynamic portrait of an L&N Railroad engine barreling down on us is by the prolific local mural team Eastside Murals, who lately have been signing their work “Out East Boys.” According to the artists, the design was inspired by the rail lines that run alongside the complex and even go inside the buildings, no doubt put there to ease the delivery of wood and the shipping out of products when Madison Mill was churning out dowels for 60 years. The mural sits on the wall of a parking garage which faces down a long corridor in the middle of the complex. The effect is very much like a train hurtling down a tunnel, coming straight for the viewer.

This isn’t the only mural at Sylvan Supply. Indeed, this retail/office complex is something of an outdoor art gallery, much as it was when it was covered with graffiti art. I’ll be writing about the other pieces later, but just explore a bit and you’ll find the other art.

Located at 4101 Charlotte Avenue, at the corner with 42nd Avenue. The parking garage lies at the back end (south) of the complex, the part farthest from Charlotte Avenue. The corridor splits the main part of the Sylvan Supply down the middle. If you are coming from 42nd, just walk away from 42nd into the complex, and you will find it.

Honey

Miel

That’s what “miel” means in Spanish. And if you look close at the mostly mushroom-themed mural, you’ll see a bee in the upper center area. Miel is the name of a generally well-reviewed restaurant¬†found in Sylvan Park just off Charlotte Pike. Miel prides itself on using local ingredients and maintaining sustainable practices. It’s a foody kind of place where you should probably get reservations. The mural is by Andie Estes (@byandie on Instagram), who besides the mural seems to also be responsible for much of Miel’s branding. Based on Miel’s Instagram account, this seems to be a very recent mural, having gone up in late July.

UPDATE: I have been told by the artist that “the mural is an abstract representation of the garden the owner has built onsite.”

Located at 343 53rd Avenue North, within sight of Charlotte Pike, behind Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. There is some limited street parking. Miel’s is not open for lunch, so in the morning and early afternoon, you can probably park in their small lot. Get some quality grub and enjoy the art!

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