Friday, April 22, 2011

Glenrose Avenue gets a bright new mural

My drive to work just got more pleasant. Every day I drive to work and back home again for lunch and then back to work and back home again at the end of the work day. My short drive includes traveling busy Glenrose Avenue between Nolensville Road and Foster Avenue. This segment of Glenrose is an area of modest homes close to the road and some businesses. While the area is not terribly depressed, it is somewhat drab and run down and I don't think anyone would call this street an attractive street. About mid way in this section of the Glenrose, the street narrows for an underpass and retaining walls border the street approaching the underpass.
Artist Tarri Driver chats with neighborhood leader Cecil Lillard. 

The walls of the underpass and the retaining walls have long been a site were graffiti "artist" deface the walls and where gangs "tag" the walls. The city does a good job of trying to keep the graffiti removed but it is a constant battle. The result is that the walls had become covered with different shades of paint that have been used to cover the graffiti. It was ugly.

This week I got a pleasant surprise when I noticed that the walls were being painted. A mural was emerging on what had been an ugly wall. The project is the work of PASTL.

I stopped by today while the artists were working to tell them I admired their work and got to meet Michael Kavnaugh the founder and project manager of PASTL and artist Tarri Driver. Tarri is an Art Therapist who describes her job as working to help at-risk kids express themselves through art. I leaned that this is the first big public project for PASTL. Previous projects have included murals at Johnson School and Spectrum Academy. The project is being funded by a grant from the Neighborhood Resource Center.

Tarri expressed hope that the wall would not be defaced by graffiti and said that there has been a history of practitioners of graffiti (I hate calling them "artist") leaving alone murals when they have been have been painted where graffiti had previously prevailed. I know that when the railroad overpass on Nolensville Road at the Nashville zoo was repainted with the lifelike animals perched in the painted niches of the overpass, I was fearful that that beautiful artwork would be defaced but surprisingly it has not. I hope that Tarri is right and this work of art is not defaced either.

Thanks to all involved in this project for making my drive more pleasant.

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