Nashville is world-famous for its music and cuisine, but our murals are undeniably among the most beautiful in the nation. Unlike graffiti-driven, disruptive street art that has formed the foundation of the movements in cities like New York, Chicago, Bristol, and Berlin, Nashville’s street art began as a way to celebrate the solidarity, warmth, and positivity that sets Tennessee apart. Murals here are marked by vibrant colors, sweeping lines, cultural celebration, and mind-bending geometric patterns.
As each new, innovative mural goes viral on Instagram, tourists and locals alike gather to indulge in the visual feast and take their own shots for the ‘Gram. Because our street art scene has continued to soar, artists from around the world have leapt at the opportunity to contribute their own pieces.
Today, we’re sharing our Top Ten Must-See Murals in Middle Tennessee (and mural hot spots), each chosen for their aesthetic, cultural, and/or social media impact.
The Elliston Place Parking Garage has been transformed from a tagging hotspot into a staggering installation of street art, both inside and out. While we heartily recommend spending time wandering through the garage to enjoy each piece, the two exterior murals are not to be missed. Audie Adams painted his signature bird as part of the sign marking the Elliston Place garage, while Chris Zidek created one of his best-known Art Deco-inspired geometric masterpieces that graces the length of the exterior.
An abandoned Gillette Company grain silo in the neighborhood known as The Nations towers high above any surrounding buildings, which made it the perfect location for Guido van Helten to create his truly gargantuan piece celebrating local resident Lee Estes. This tribute is simultaneously a tribute to our region’s cultural heritage and a mournful acknowledgment of the impact gentrification has had on the blue-collar residents of The Nations—and throughout Middle Tennessee. To be fully appreciated for its beauty, power, and unbelievable scale, this mural must be seen in person.
“I don’t want to be famous. I just want to be remembered.”
Elisheba Israel Mrozik created a trio of murals paying tribute to the heritage of Black Americans on the east-facing exterior of One Drop Ink. True to her style, she has included mystical elements, reflections on the mysteries of outer space, and the beauty of black Americans and their culture. Its vivid turquoise, purple, pink, orange, and yellow hues make this piece perfect for photographers of all skill levels.
Stephen Sloan has created a burst of undiluted 70s glamour starring Diana Ross (who else?) around the petite storefront that is slated to be the home of Wayback Party Bar. Wayback hired Sloan to create this stunning retro mural to serve as a way to identify both the storefront and the bar across social media, which makes it a perfect opportunity to bring a dose of disco to your own Instagram page.
Nashville Looks Good on You – Marathon Village 1206 Milson Avenue | Nashville Artist: NashTN
Technically the well-known NLGOY mural facing west on Milson Avenue is the newest addition to a series by the artist who goes by NashTN. Perhaps its newness is the reason it is less crowded than the one on 12 South. If you’re looking to avoid a line as much as possible, you may wish to visit the NLGOY mural on Nolensville Pike.
Keep in mind that each of NashTN’s murals is unique. 12 South is monochrome, stark and bold, Nolensville’s massive mural is also a map of Tennessee, 21st Ave is wrapped around a curved corner wall, and this new piece features a hand holding a magnifying glass and an eye peering through.
No matter which location you choose to visit, each of the Nashville Looks Good on You murals is an excellent photo op for locals and visitors to Music City alike.
Australian artist RONE was invited to Tennessee to paint a mural of his famous portrait, Jane Doe. While RONE’s lauded art often features arresting portraiture of beautiful women, this iteration of Jane Doe is truly remarkable. She is at once regal and vulnerable, and standing in her presence is a visceral experience.
Inspired by the vital waterways that are intertwined throughout our state and our nickname “Athens of the South,” Beau Stanton created this sweeping swirl of rich hues celebrating both. Here our city is personified as an Athenian goddess pouring the waters of life from a vessel, while splashing fish represent the rich and varied wildlife supported by our waterways. Even if you don’t need a gorgeous dress from Blush Boutique, you simply must stop by just to view this celebrated mural.
If you’ve seen any of Nashville’s murals on Instagram, odds are it’s Kelsey Montague’s Wings mural. Montague creates huge street murals across the globe, each of which invites the viewer to become part of the art in order to create stunning photographs. The giant, monochromatic What Lifts You wings are peppered with elements that evoke Nashville’s musical past and present, and have remained a permanent Instagram photoshoot location since they were first unveiled.
If you would like to take photos, try to arrive mid-week during the mid-morning hours. Otherwise, bring a friend and something to do, because you will likely have to join a queue.
Adrien Saporiti, who was born and raised in Nashville, painted a series of bold murals featuring the now-famous motto “I Believe in Nashville.” To date, photos featuring this mural have been posted to Instagram well over one million times, with no signs of slowing down. If you’re taking photos in Nashville, this classic spot should certainly be on your list.
Located just across the street from the I Believe in Nashville mural, Peace Love Good Deeds is a tie-dyed explosion of rainbow hues and modern hippie symbols. For summery boho photoshoots, it’s hard to beat the vibes and the views at this location!
There may be no single person who represents the joy, charity, and creativity of Tennessee more than the legendary Dolly Parton. She is beloved both locally and globally, which is why Kim Radford jumped at the opportunity to create this mural celebrating both Dolly’s ideals and her beauty.
Speaking with Billboard just as Radford was finishing the mural, Dolly Parton said, “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she says. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think [we’re] the only ones that matter? No!”
This moment was a continuation of Dolly’s legacy of working to unite people of all races, religions, orientations, and genders, and Radford knew she had to work this quote into the mural. The result is a timeless tribute that is also tremendously of the moment, and of course, beautiful both in photographs and in person.
So, Nashvillians, was your favorite mural on our list? If not, please leave us a comment with the title and address of the one you love most. Have a photo from your Instagram? Include a link with your comment! We hope to see you this summer and fall enjoying street art all over Middle Tennessee.