Touring public art in Nashville

The last word on Nashville goes to a couple of hours of exploring I did on my last day there back in June.  As a way to weave my way through the city’s sights, I planned a walking tour of public art via the ever helpful Downtown Nashville Partnership website.   Given my limited time, I didn’t get to see everything I had hoped to but did end up with a nice selection of some interesting art.

The largest piece I saw on my tour was “Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks” by Alice Aycock.  Located just outside LP Field, it is meant to evoke the evolution that side of the river has seen from an industrial past to a current and future that is more focused on recreation.

Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks

At the base of the Batman Building (I like that moniker much more than the official “AT&T Tower”) is this sculpture by Lin Swensson with a somewhat dull name – “AT&T Tower Sculpture”.  This piece represents the economic growth and prosperity of Nashville.

AT&T Tower Sculpture

A little off the beaten path of downtown Nashville was this dynamic sculpture outside the Nashville Children’s Theatre by Zophia Ann Kneiss.  The theatre’s mascot is a dragon, and this sculpture was inspired by a dragon in the book “The Reluctant Dragon” who liked to write poetry.  If you look closely, the dragon (nicknamed “Eli”) is wearing a mask to represent theatre and is holding a small child on his wing.

Nashville Children's Theatre Dragon

Not on the tour I mapped out, but something that caught my eye nonetheless earlier on my visit was this sculpture outside a hotel on West End Avenue across from the Vanderbilt campus.   Not sure the artistic merit of this, but it was shiny, had guitars and spun around to reveal a sinister smiling face on the back of the largest guitar.


Back on my planned walking tour, a number of smaller pieces of art were in fact bicycle racks around the city.  These pieces were commissioned to support active transportation and healthy living.

Probably my favourite piece of public art I saw in Nashville was “Citizen” by Thomas Sayre.   There are two thirty foot tall sculptures located in the park outside the Davidson County Courthouse.  Each one allows the viewer to rotate it to have the sculpture point in any direction.   The motivation behind this installation was to allow citizens of Nashville to be leaders in this jointly purposed space (public park, government) by repositioning these sculptures.  I love interactive art and these were pleasing to the eye, interesting in concept, and fun to interact with.


There was a lot more art to be seen, but alas, I had a final meal to squeeze in and some packing to do before an early morning flight.   Until next time…


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