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Meet the Artist: Amber Lelli

Local Interdisciplinary Artist Selected to Create Suspended Interior Artwork at the New Donelson Library

Above: Lelli with her sculpture, We Change With the Passing of Every Sun; Dancing Sound Wave (with artist partners Whitney Proper and Sadie Monroe) at Nashville International Airport.

For Nashville artist Amber Lelli, libraries represent the transformative nature of reading and literacy. In her interview before Metro Arts’ citizen selection panel, Lelli told the story of her grandmother, who left school after the first grade, and her mother who later rose through the ranks of the publishing industry. For Lelli, the prospect of combining her work as an artist with a location as special as Nashville Public Library’s new Donelson branch is the perfect tribute to the role reading has played in her family’s story.

“The power of books is inspiring and can be witnessed in my family’s history,” said Lelli. “From my grandmother who never got past first grade, to my mother, who, through a love of books, worked to become an editorial director. And now to me, who in three generations gets this opportunity to create a sculpture highlighting this great community and the power of this location.”

Above: Rendering of the forthcoming Donelson Branch Library, courtesy of Hastings Architecture.

Metro Arts’ call to artists for the interior artwork at the new Donelson library will result in a suspended artwork in the two-story space along the library’s north window wall. The call was reserved exclusively for local artists residing in Davidson and surrounding counties. Amber Lelli’s childhood in Middle Tennessee included visits to Donelson for haircuts and shopping, and watching the community grow and change along with the rest of the city. “It’s an honor to be selected for this opportunity! As a longtime Middle Tennessee resident, I have many fond memories in Donelson,” said Lelli. “To be able to invest my skills back into this city and library means so much to me.”

Above: Crystal Glaciers installation at Acme Feed & Seed; Exploration in Form. Images courtesy of the artist.

Lelli’s portfolio of work includes diverse sculptures, prints and marquetry, as well as public and commercial art. Her artworks have graced Nashville International Airport, film sets, the National Bible Museum, and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Next up for Lelli is the community engagement process, gathering input and information from the people in Donelson who will be using the library. Their feedback will inform the design of her artwork, which she is excited about: “I am looking forward to partnering with local businesses and residents to capture the spirit of Donelson.”

Watch Metro Arts’ social media accounts and our Projects in Progress page for updates on artworks at Donelson and other upcoming sites, and sign up for Arts Alert to stay informed about all Metro Arts news and opportunities.

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