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Meet the Nashville Semifinalists: Interior Public Art at the New Donelson Library

At their December board meeting, the Metro Nashville Arts Commission approved semifinalists for public art projects at the forthcoming Donelson branch of the Nashville Public Library (NPL). The Donelson Library will have two public artworks, one exterior and one interior. View our previous blog post to learn about the exterior semifinalists. Today, we're taking a look at the Nashville -based semifinalists for the suspended interior artwork.

Metro Arts' Public Art Community Investment Plan outlines our commitment to strengthening Nashville's public art ecosystem--the network of artists, organizations and communities that create public art. Chief among our values is our commitment to supporting artists. Metro Arts also believes in the vitality of the public realm: essentially, that community spaces like libraries honor and transcend the essential services they provide.

Metro Arts Public Art Collection contains many artworks within our city's public library branches, like Rise Above and Great Beginnings at the Bellevue Branch Library, and From the Four Corners in the atrium shared between the Southeast's Commons at the Crossings' library and community center. Moreover, in 2021, Metro Arts expanded our public art collection with 60 artworks from Nashville artists with the launch of the Metro Arts Lending Library, available for checkout at NPL's Madison and Southeast branches.

Metro Arts was grateful for the opportunity to strengthen our commitment to local artists as well as our partnership with NPL through a project developed exclusively for Nashville-area artists.

Rendering from Hastings Architecture

The new Donelson Library will be constructed in the middle of Donelson Plaza, a mid-century strip mall currently being updated by a private developer. Renderings from Hastings Architects show the new two-story, free-standing building atop a parking garage. Its design pays homage to the mid-century modern feel of the surrounding plaza and the development of the Donelson community.

Metro Arts and Nashville Public Library identified two locations for public art at the library site: the outdoor plaza or "town center," as well as a location for a suspended interior artwork along the library's north window. The interior's double-height space spans two floors--the adult collection on the first floor and the children's area on the top floor--and is also visible from the outside through the trees along the building's large north windows.

Metro Arts issued a national call for artists for the exterior location; however, the call for the interior artwork was reserved exclusively for local artists in Nashville-Davidson County and the surrounding counties.

Above: Rendering of the two-story north window site for suspended artwork from Hastings Architecture.

The semifinalists (three artists and one artist team) are listed below in alphabetical order. Click on the each gallery to view the individual images, and visit the artists' websites to learn more.

Joelton, TN

Michael Allison is a professional artistic glass blower specializing in original liquid light and glass installations.

Left-right: Horns, Atlanta, GA; Untitled, Joplin, MO; Rayle, Atlanta, GA.

Nashville, TN

Lanie Gannon creates art for public spaces, designing for specific environments to reach the community, giving concrete form to communal insight.

Clockwise from top left: Blue Bird Atrium, Knoxville, TN; String Theory, Nashville, TN; Waterfall Pond, Nashville, TN.

Jamal Jenkins, Christian Greene, Thomas McDougal

Nashville, TN

Artist Jamal Jenkins believes that public art has the power to reshape the energy within a community. His practice includes creating murals and other large-scale paintings that include community insight.

Top-bottom: Migrate, Nashville, TN; Breeze, Nashville, TN; Legacy Mural, Nashville, TN.

Amber Lelli Mt Juliet, TN

Amber Lelli is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus in sculpture and printmaking. Lelli is interested in exploring concepts, asking questions, and choosing the medium and materials best fit for those ideas.

Top-bottom: Dancing Sound Wave, Nashville, TN; Center Tree, Washington, DC; Exploration in Form, Mt Juliet, TN.

View more artworks in the Donelson area, public art in Nashville Public Library locations, and other artworks from Nashville-based artists, all in our Metro Public Art Collection.

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