September 19, 2016
A few years ago, a guest came to the concierge desk and described a mural that was somewhere in Nashville and asked if I knew where he could find it. From his description, I found two pictures online. One picture included part of a building I recognized. I gave this information to the guest, as well as lunch recommendations in the area of this mural (At least I knew that part without having to look it up!). The guest came back with his picture and shared it with me. If you know anything about me, you know what I was doing the next morning before my concierge shift. I needed to see this mural myself.
The guest was referring to the I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE which quickly became a symbol for our city. In fact, now multiple official I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE murals are in Nashville. They are all very popular places to have your picture taken.
After this conversation with the guest, I started paying attention to more and more murals throughout the city. If you are visiting Nashville, I would like to share a few more popular murals for the perfect photo op to remember your time in Music City. Another great location for murals is Hillsboro Village, a little coffee shop community/ neighborhood on the edge of Vanderbilt University. There are two brightly colored murals that can be found in this three block area.
The Hillsboro Dragon (below) was painted over 20 years ago. It is a very long mural (so long, I cannot capture this all in one photo) of a brightly colored dragon. It is located across the street from the Belcourt Theatre, Nashville’s independent art-house cinema. I like to think that is more than coincidence that Dees Park, commonly referred to as “Dragon Park,” is just a few short blocks away. The Dees Park playground holds a large ceramic dragon whose tiles are made up of pictures and scenes of the city.
The posh “new” neighborhood in Nashville known as the Gulch hosts a mural of giant angel wings that recently appeared on my radar. The design was made for photo-ops! Stand in the middle of the wings and think about the amazing things that “lift you.” Images included in the wings are symbols and places in Nashville, for example: cowboy boots; Korean Veterans Boulevard Bridge; guitars; and more. There is also a smaller set of wings so your furry friend can have their picture taken (I couldn’t get my dog Pepper to sit still to take the picture, but I tried). Make sure to hashtag #whatliftsyou and look at the great photos of past visitors when posting on social media!
On Murphy Road, there is a great little flower wholesaler with flower murals on each side of the building. The painting provides different perspectives of flowers on each side of the building provide.
The side shown above is a field of sunflowers. The other side of the building is painted to look as if the concrete wall is ripped open to reveal a field of flowers. I have been inside the flower wholesaler many times and can confirm, the inside of the building looks exactly like the outside image – beautiful flowers to fill the city with color.
Some changing murals, concerts and advertisements can be found on Gallatin Road, 5 Points in East Nashville and Elliston Place. They are changed about every month into something new and unique. They all promote cool concerts you should catch — the band in the mural will probably be famous someday. I have walked past these murals many times and it seemed they magically changed. But! Behold, I caught a rare glimpse at the mural painter (and even got it on camera)!
One of my favorites is a giant octopus that spans the home of Little Octopus restaurant on Gallatin Pike. The black and white painting looks like an ink drawing full of interesting details and patterns. I read somewhere the an octopus can expand out to 30 feet and has the possibility of a longer life span, since the restaurant where this mural is painting in moving locations, I hope both lifespans match its size it will still be there when you get here, so you can take your own picture of it.
In addition to the ever changing concert ads in trendy East Nashville, you will also find MANY other murals, including tall bears, colorful tigers, artist images along fences, and simplistic words.
There are a few murals downtown worth mentioning. There is a great one on the side of the Johnny Cash Museum, Legend’s Corner has a skyline painted on the side of the building and various other murals can be found throughout downtown, some big, some small, some commercial, and many by local artists. I will stay as I’ve started to look around and see more and more murals in the past few years, I’ve realized, sometimes you find art in the most interesting places. I looked up while eating a taco at Bajo Sexto Taco on Charlotte Ave. and saw this….
(It expands through the whole ceiling.)
I’d like to take this opportunity to mention the Walls of Nashville project. The Gibson sponsored project features various artists painting a variety of different murals mostly located in downtown Nashville. Their website tells you about the artist, the mural, and even lists and schedules with a map of where to find Nashville’s newest public art exists. http://www.nashvillewallsproject.com/
There are also community events in East Nashville where the public is invited to join in painting local murals. In October, the arts community also hosts programs where the public is invited to watch artists create their masterpiece.
Take a look around in Nashville, you never know, a mural that can change your perspective maybe right in front of you. It could be the perfect photo opportunity and a way to remember your special time in Music City.