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nashville public art

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Down below the overpass

A few months ago, these images appeared beneath the bridge where I-40 rises over Jefferson Street. They seem somewhat primitive in style, perhaps done by an untrained or inexperienced artist. They include tigers, musical instruments, a car, and sports equipment. To the far left, barely visible because of the glare towards the outer part of the wall, is a basketball and a racquet. More visible are the tigers, the car, and the instruments. The tiger to the far right has a football to one side and another basketball on the other. The tigers are probably the most important clue. While nearby Tennesse State University does indeed have a tiger mascot, it’s also true that McKissack Middle School, just a little farther away, uses a tiger for its mascot. Given the style of the art, I’m betting that some unnamed McKissask student (or students) produced these works. About a block east, on a trestle bridge that borders Wilson Ladies Salon (2043 Jefferson Street) there is a pig riding on the hood of a car that clearly seems to be by the same artist(s). I’m not including it here, because Wilson has a pretty fantastic sign that needs a post of its own, and I’ll include it in that post. This mural is on the southwest side of the overpass. At the other end, across the street, and at the northeast end of the overpass, is the mural featured in Jefferson Street Gateway to Heritage. And just to the right of this mural, on a wall facing Jefferson Street, is one of the first murals I wrote about on this blog, which is featured in Freedom Riders on Jefferson. This overpass is a busy place for art!

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Located at the southwest end of the overpass, which splits Jefferson between the 2400 and 2500 blocks. There is a fence that makes it impossible to walk directly to them. You have to start a half-block east where the exit ramp connects with Jefferson Street. There is no “No trespassing sign” – the fence is probably meant mainly to protect the landscaping. Parking is problematic. You used to be able to park under the bridge on the north side, but that is now marked “No parking.” You’ll have to park a block or more away and walk.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

TigerMuffler

Once upon a time, there was a muffler shop at 935 4th Avenue South called Tiger Muffler Center. It is no more. It would appear there is now an auto repair store at that address called Los Partners, though they don’t have much of an online presence. Why they or whoever owns the building decided to erase “muffler center” but leave the rest of the sign is unknown to me – maybe they just like tigers. It does change the meaning of the sign. Instead of telling us “This is the name of the muffler store,” it now says to us “Yes, that’s a tiger. The individual holding a muffler is indeed a tiger.” Ghost signs from lost businesses are of course nothing new, such as the Dutch Maid sign. “Los Partners” is an odd name, given that in Spanish the word for “partner” (as in “business partner”) is “socio.” Signs of an emerging hybrid culture, I suppose. The tiger image, however, must be considered endangered, like its natural counterpart, given that the store it supported is long gone. Check it out while you can.

Located at 935 4th Avenue South. This is a tricky place to park, particularly on a weekday when the businesses on this stretch are all open. The nearest street parking appears to be on 3rd Avenue South.

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