Music For Your Eyes … Nashville’s Public Art

Nashville has a solid reputation as a city that values creative expression, especially in the form of music. But there’s another art form that has exploded in the last few years in Music City, and it’s free and accessible to everyone.

Public art, such as colorful murals and exquisite sculptures, can be found all over downtown, in green spaces, around the suburbs, and beyond. If you’ve driven through the Gulch in recent months, you’ve likely noticed the line of people waiting for selfies in front of the angel wing mural. Not all pieces will appeal to everyone, and some may even create controversy. For the most part, however, these works of art energize our public spaces and add vitality to our community. For example, I believe that the portrait mural located at 530 Church St. contributes vibrancy to the Nashville cityscape, and Buddy Jackson’s Emergence sculpture (see it in the header) reflects the determination of the residents to emerge from the devastation of the 2010 flood in the Hartman Park area.

 

 

Recently, my family and I spent an afternoon touring some of the Nashville Walls Project murals created by some of the world’s top street and graffiti artists. The ones we viewed that day covered the sides of buildings downtown and in the Gulch, as well as the highly popular silo painting in the Nations. For more information about this project, visit their website.

 

 

 

The Metro Arts Collection includes permanent works of art ranging from the Microphone bike rack on Music Row to the Magnolia transit shelter on the 28th Avenue Connector Bridge to the 45′ tall “Light Meander” at the foot of Demonbreun Street, meant to form a nexus between the river and downtown Nashville. Visit this website for an interactive map and full directory of the Metro Arts Collection and Art in Public Places artworks.

 

 

 

It never gets old to unexpectedly happen upon an art piece that I hadn’t seen before, like the time my wife and I first saw the Tool Fire sculpture at Shelby Bottoms, or seeing a work of art in an out-of-the-ordinary setting, like coming upon the icicle-covered Owen Bradley sculpture during a winter walk on Music Row. Studies have shown that when a person looks at art, they experience strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure, much like when you listen to music. If you haven’t explored the public art scene lately, I encourage you to get out there and enjoy the visual pleasures Nashville has to offer!    

 

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