The Legacy Mural – A 4,00sf Community Engagement Art Installation (2701 Jefferson Street)
At the crux of two major artery streets and in the epicenter of what Nashvillians deem as the “heart of North Nashville” you will find what once was a blank 4,000sf wall owned by one of Nashville’s oldest black families now turned into an art activated community space with a mural that could only hold one name: Legacy.
“28th and Jefferson” is not just a pivotal landmark for Nashville - It is a home-grown phrase that has crossed generations with a meaning that only those of that neighborhood could fully explicate. In the past years it has meant parades, protests, marches, and meeting points. It has also meant black business, black families, black churches, and higher education for black students. Jefferson street connects directly into the downtown corridor and has a long history that speaks directly to the dynamics of intergenerational excellence as well as the traumas that stem from black spaces and homes being torn asunder by decades old governmental plans for a growing city.
The idea to activate the space in North Nashville came after the wreckage of 2020: The Tornado that destroyed homes, businesses, and churches alike in North Nashville and abroad, Covid, and the country’s uproar behind police murders such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. A group of young artists began to navigate what was in their realm of giving and how they sought to bring back hope to a community that’s spirit was dwindling. “Community Solutions” is what the artists call their idea mapping.
Goal 1: to engage as many community artists as possible to share in the vision of what was possible.
Goal 2: to create outdoor spaces during Covid where families could play, learn, and grow – (which was difficult during a time where the government had closed all parks and outdoor gathering spaces to curb the pandemic.)
Goal 3: to consider special housing (live/work spaces) for artists - primarily centering the conversation on prioritizing displaced artists since the pandemic drove a distinct divide between the wealth gap.
Artists were shown to fall among the list of “essential workers” who were the first to go back to work to give the world avenues of entertainment while at home. Some artists never stopped working. This was their way of remaining sane, making peace, or just plain creating through destruction and despair. Finally, the last Community Solution:
Goal 4: Art Activation - to lift the spirit of the community. This led to several projects such as:
· Street Dance Activism with Vanderbilt EADJ to instigate and activate community spirit;
· #PollDance: a Highlanders and Alternate Roots initiative to activate polling locations through dance to promote voting, hope, and good spirit/energy surrounding one of the most pivotal elections in modern day history;
· N2020: Community Reflections with the Frist Art Museum recanting the timeline of 2020 through visual and performing arts; and
· The Norf Wall Fest: a gathering of artists to engage community through art while creating community beautification. The project that created and supported what is now known as “The Legacy Mural”.
For the first time ever, all families were at home learning to navigate a new normal. Meanwhile, artists were continuing to think of ways to speak to the masses and to share a vision of hope, community, forward progress, and legacy – knowing that art speaks so loudly yet echoes a shock so quietly that its impact can affect even the generations to come. With this understanding, the goal was simple: SHARE THE MESSAGE.
The message is one that includes everyone. It is one that represents the past, present, and future. Its intricacies and interpersonal roots run deep into the depths of the fundamental framework of family and community. The message is simple: LEGACY.
The questions were posed to all:
Who are we?
What are we doing?
What do we want to create?
The decision was to go within ourselves to answer these questions wholeheartedly. There are still questions unanswered and many things on the table to consider. We find ourselves in a space and time where we have the ability to change the trajectory of the future by placing new ideas and new visions ahead that give way for all to thrive.
The Legacy Mural is where we meet to discuss what’s next. It is a reminder of all that happened, is happening, and can happen. Please join us on Friday, September 17th from 5 to 7pm to learn more about the community solutions and to help us begin navigating our spaces together in thought and in vision.
Unveiling of The Legacy Mural - A 4,00sqft gift to North Nashville
Date and time
Fri, September 17, 2021
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM CDT
The Legacy Mural
2701 Jefferson Street
Nashville, TN 37208