Nashville Walls Project Unifies a Creative City with Street Art

By Justin Stokes

What makes a city’s architecture impressive? Is it the design, the color or how the dimensions affect the metropolitan experience?

By getting artsy with the buildings in the city, the Nashville Walls Project gives the exteriors of Music City a new look—one that adds to the vibrancy of a community that’s already swelling with creativity.

The Nashville Walls Project's most recent addition is a 165-foot tall mural painted by Australian Guido Van Helten on an abandoned grain silo in "The Nations" neighborhood of Nashville. (Photo by Eva Boros)

The Nashville Walls Project’s most recent addition is a 165-foot tall mural painted by Australian Guido Van Helten on an abandoned grain silo in “The Nations” neighborhood of Nashville. (Photo by Eva Boros)

Writer, art curator and TEDxNashville speaker Éva Boros is the cofounder of the Nashville Walls Project (NWP). She told us how she met her partner in crime for the project.

“I was pursuing writing in San Francisco back in 2010 when I met Brian Greif through Art Explosion: a warehouse dedicated to artists studios and exhibits,” Boros said. “He asked me to help him produce and write Saving Banksy, a documentary film about the appropriation of graffiti in the art world.

“When Brian moved back to Nashville in 2014, I had already been living in Columbus for about a year. Naturally, post-production also moved to Nashville, so I began commuting down once a month to work on the film. That was when Brian and I started driving around and looking at blank walls, scoping out potential canvases for street art. After taking photos of said walls we would find the property owner and beg them to let us paint on it. This went on for about two years, and in 2016 Herakut (an artist duo from Germany) began painting the first wall in Downtown Nashville.”

According to Boros, the Nashville Walls Project was originally Greif’s baby, who came to Nashville “because he wanted to bring street art to Music City.”

Now, both Boros and Greif share the work of the Nashville Walls Project, preaching the gospel of street art to property holders and letting them select what kinds of aesthetics they want on their exteriors.

Boros states that mural planning can take months and require lots of preparations and a wide berth of expenses. The village that helped make the Nashville Walls Project includes the likes of Cornerstone Building owner Dan Maddox (who was the first to provide space and funding for NWP), the sponsorship of Gibson Custom Division through the rallying of Rick Gembar, the artistic utility of Nashville Arts Magazine’s Paul Polycarpou and the second-year support of MarketStreet Enterprises in the Gulch with San Francisco’s Ian Ross and Big Apple talent Jason Woodside.

Graffiti and street art is the next great movement in the history of art,” Boros said. “I will work to help people and artists reclaim public space from billboards and subliminal ad targeting until my last breath. There is nothing like turning a corner and getting hit with a massive piece of art that thrives purely off human value.”

“I want children to live in world that is more inviting and friendly,” she continued. “I want art to be accessible to everyone, and not just to those who have the money to buy it. I want someone who is having a terrible day to just look up and see something inspiring. I also want local artists to have the ability to live off their work, thrive and grow.”

If you’re looking to visit the walls for yourself, you can find a map of murals and information about the artists on the NWP website.


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