Guido Van Helten paints the Pillar of The Nations Community, Nashville Walls Project 2017

The Nashville Walls Project, curated by Brian Greif and Eva Boros woke up the city of Nashville to street art in May 2016 with their successful project that saw local and international street artists transform Nashville into an open art museum. Read more here.

The second phase of the Nashville Walls Project has begun with artists already taken over the downtown district called “The Gulch”. Read more here.

Next up is Guido Van Helten‘s Nashville Mural which was commissioned by Southeast Venture as part of the Nashville Walls Project.  The mural is on an abandoned grain silo in “The Nations” neighbourhood of Nashville.

“Nashville is a great place and from what I gather has some powerful momentum in the arts and culture. I’ve enjoyed being here, but mostly my focus has been on the area of the Nations and West Nashville. I like to focus on a community in the content of the mural and also lifestyle while I’m working in a place, so I have mostly stayed local, worked and spent my time in the neighborhood while I’ve been here”.

The front figure on the mural is 165 feet tall.  Guido spent a week in Nashville meeting people before coming up with his design.  The main figure in the mural is 91-year old Mr Lee Estes who has lived in the neighbourhood all his life.

“It is important for me and my process to reflect a community’s character in my work, and through this aim I engage in a process of discovering and learning about a place through community engagement and consultation.”

Mr. Estes is a volunteer at the St Luke’s Community House in “The Nations”.  Guido was inspired by Mr Estes history of charity work in the neighbourhood. Mr Estes, like the new mural, is a pillar of the community …

“Mr. Estes has been part of this group for many years. To me he stands symbolic against the inevitable tide of gentrification. This is an issue that in some cases has left the underprivileged in worse positions, as developers and real estate agents move to capitalize on the Nashville housing boom”

“I find the relationship between murals and gentrification conflicting, and in this work there is this conflicting yet harmonious composite of the two sides of social change. There is juxtaposition between a mural that discusses and commemorates the blue-collar demographic while at the same time being a powerful part of the change in the area. This is a dialogue and talking point that I hope this mural can create.”

The two children depicted in the mural are children at St Luke’s Community House.

“I feel it’s important to try to give something back to young people while working on my projects, including them in the process in some way. The composition of Mr. Estes and the children is intended to push the idea that this mural stands not for a single individual but the community as a whole”.

Watch all the action in this video by “Those Drones” and experience the full impact of this beautiful 165 feet tall mural standing proud within “The Nations” neighbourhood …



Photo Credit “Those Drones”



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