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The Road to Creating Public Art on Nolensville Pike

See the newly-approved concept designs for artist-designed transit shelters and utility boxes

Metro Arts is committed to a “vital public realm.” While that might sound academic, quite simply put, it means that we support art that strengthens neighborhoods. We believe art should:

  • boost community revitalization efforts

  • promote dynamic, creative neighborhoods

  • foster the creation of community gathering places, and

  • build neighborhood identity and pride

Our 2016 Public Art Community Investment Plan sets forth Metro Arts’ vision for every Nashvillian to experience a creative city and outlines our focus on driving community vitality and equity. The Envision Nolensville Pike project, of which Metro Arts was a partner, highlighted the role public art could play in making Nolensville Pike more welcoming and safe for pedestrians and public transit consumers, while reflecting the unique and vibrant community.

In 2018, Metro Arts board of commissioners approved the selection of five artists and artist teams from a pool of applicants tasked with designing streetscape improvements for Nolensville Pike. With the Public Art Committee’s approval of the artists’ design concepts at their September 2019 meeting, and the Metro Arts Commission's approval at their November 2019 board meeting, these projects are one step closer to becoming a reality.

Each design reflects the unique fabric of the surrounding community, and reflects the commitment of the artists and of Metro Arts to conducting meaningful community engagement, ensuring that public art represents the residents who will experience it.

(Note: These renderings and designs are just that--renderings and designs--and are subject to change during the fabrication and installation processes. We’re working closely with WeGo, Public Works and Metro engineers to bring them to fruition. In the meantime, we’re excited to share the artists’ concepts with you.)

Tony Sobota’s deep engagement with the Little Kurdistan neighborhood resulted in his shelter’s homage to Iran’s iconic Zakho Bridge and native date palm trees.

Tess Davies focused on the preschool students at Casa Azafran, incorporating their fanciful drawings and ideas into a “friendly monster” concept for the adjacent transit shelter.

Mosaic artists Jairo and Susan Prado incorporated Nolensville Pike’s diverse cultures and vibrant community into their bright, translucent shelter design, to be located across from the Nashville Zoo entrance at the Bargain Hunt shopping plaza.

For their Uplift shelter design at Joyner Avenue, Daniel Arite and Thandiwe Shiphrah employed a quilt motif in their abstract collage to honor late Woodbine resident Fannie Hall Williams, who organized community sewing circles and campaigned years ago to have a crosswalk and traffic light installed at the intersection.

LeXander Bryant’s Get Home Safely series of graphic utility box wraps will feature stylized portraits from the Nolensville Pike Community, with phrases that echo feedback he gathered during his observations.

To stay informed about the progress of the Nolensville Pike streetscape artworks and all Metro Arts announcements, sign up for Arts Alert, our semi-monthly email newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @MetroArtsNash.

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