I Believe in Nashville

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I Believe in Nashville (also, I Believe in Nashville Mural ) is a series of painted murals started in 2012 by the artist Adrien Saporiti, a Nashville native. The mural, which started in one location, has since been replicated on several walls throughout the city of Nashville. It has become a popular tourist destination and scene to pose for Instagram photos, having appeared on the photo-sharing platform over one million times.[1]

Photograph of the I Believe in Nashville Mural created by Adrien Saporiti in Nashville, Tennessee.

History and creation[edit]

The first instance of the mural went up in the 12 South neighborhood of Nashville in March 2012. The piece is simple and described as "minimal... (with) three bold colors and four simple words."[2] Part of the artwork's meaning is conveyed through its simplicity, which makes the message of Nashville pride very apparent while also drawing on the colors and tristar of the Tennessee State Flag.[3] Prior to the creation of the mural, Nashville suffered historic flooding during the 2010 Tennessee floods. The mural has been described as a monument to the city's resilience in the aftermath of flood damage and its transformation into one of the "It Cities" of the United States.[4] [5]

Vandalism[edit]

Because of the mural's popularity, it has become a high-profile target for vandalism. The mural is known to have been vandalized at least three times. The first vandalization involved black tar being dumped on top of the mural in March 2017, shortly before the mural's fifth year anniversary.[6] The second vandalization occurred just over four months later in July 2017. This time, a globe was painted over the center tristar, while the words "Global Warming" were painted over the word "Nashville," resulting in the mural saying "I Believe in Global Warming," in an apparent desire to draw attention to climate change. [7] Three people were later charged for the defacement.[8] The third instance of vandalism occurred in August 2018, where the word "Nashville" was changed to "rack," likely in reference to either the slang term of money or women's breasts since the vandalism was performed by a teenage boy.[9]

Locations[edit]

Murals have a tradition of using their location and presence to send messages, often political, to passersby.[10] While Saporiti claims he was not trying to send any sort of political message other "than to maybe bring people together," the mural locations are deliberately placed on brick buildings reminiscent of "old" Nashville in parts of the city that are undergoing rapid growth and transformation, such as 12 South or East Nashville.[11] Three official versions of the mural have been created. The original is located on the Howell's Alley building at 2700 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204.[12] Later versions, created by Saporiti's DCXV Industries, include a wider version at Marathon Music Works (1402 Clinton St., Nashville, TN 37203) and a smaller version at the music venue Basement East in East Nashville at 917 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206.[13]

Cultural influence[edit]

Because of the nature of murals as an art form being painted on buildings and walls, murals often can transcend their mediums and represent shared social beliefs.[14] Saporiti's work is no exception, and the mural has taken quickly become one of the most iconic symbols of Nashville. Its pop-culture references include the newspaper the Wall Street Journal, the magazine GQ, a music video from artist Hayden Panettiere, a Pepsi commercial, and the TV show American Pickers.[15] Additionally, famous celebrities such as Brett Eldredge and Miranda Lambert have worn merchandise depicting the mural, which has spawned its own website and brand.[16][17]

The I Believe in Nashville mural is part of a greater trend of increasingly visible street art appearing in Nashville, which is often sponsored by businesses who see the murals as a way of branding their company or creating buzz around their space.[18] The "Walls Project," for example, is dedicated to bringing local and international artists to paint murals throughout the city.[19] While Saporiti's mural is not sponsored by this project, it, along with the "What Lifts You" mural, has become one of Nashville's standout murals in a city where street art has become part of the culture. [20]

Reproductions and imitations[edit]

The original version is sold on different hats, mugs, shirts, and other memorabilia by the I Believe in Nashville company.[21] Because of its simplicity, the design of the mural lends itself not only to reproduction but to be changed and copied to fit different promotional causes. These changes typically occur through changing the color scheme, the symbol in the middle of the design, and the word along the bottom.

Saporiti has painted another version of the mural on the Bridgestone Arena building, home of the Nashville Predators hockey team called "I Believe in Smashville," which combines the overall layout of the original with the color scheme of the Nashville Predators.[22]

Several other towns have created imitations of the Nashville original including Cookeville, Tennessee[23], whose mural was later painted over for fear of copyright infringement, as well as Naperville, Illinois.[24]

Artist Brantley Gilbert collaborated with Saporiti to promote the sales of "I Believe in Heroism" t-shirts, meant to benefit James Shaw Jr., hero of the Nashville Waffle House shooting.[25]

An "I Believe in California" version was created and sold on t-shirts to benefit victims of the 2018 California wildfires.[26]

An unofficial copy of the original surrounded in ivy was created in tribute by Nashville homeowner Jason T. Ryan at 906 Shelby Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206 in order to promote more accessibility to the murals, which sometimes have long lines.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Luna, Kristin, "Nashville's Style Is One of a Kind. Here's What to Photograph.," Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, https://traveler.marriott.com/nashville/nashville-instagram-tips/
  2. ^ Gugala, Jon. 3-7-2014, "Adrien Saporiti," East Nashvillian, https://www.theeastnashvillian.com/adrien-saporiti/
  3. ^ Gugala, Jon. 3-7-2014, "Adrien Saporiti," East Nashvillian, https://www.theeastnashvillian.com/adrien-saporiti/
  4. ^ "Howell's Alley," https://www.howellsalley.com/
  5. ^ Peter Lane Taylor, 06-02-2017, "Nashville Is One Of America's Hottest Cities Right Now And It's Not Just The Hockey," Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/petertaylor/2017/06/02/nashville-is-on-a-red-hot-roll-and-its-not-just-the-predators/#193a27a17a58
  6. ^ Brittney Baird, 3-15-2017, "Iconic ‘I believe in Nashville’ mural vandalized in 12South," WKRN News 2, https://www.wkrn.com/news/iconic-i-believe-in-nashville-mural-vandalized-in-12south/
  7. ^ Natalie Neysa, 7-25-2017, "'I Believe in Nashville' mural vandalized again," Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/07/25/bel/507671001/
  8. ^ Marion Kirkpatrick, 08-18-2018, "'I Believe in Nashville' mural vandalized again," WSMV Nashville, https://www.wsmv.com/news/i-believe-in-nashville-mural-vandalized-again/article_ae8c4752-a30c-11e8-8787-4fdfab6f3237.html
  9. ^ Marion Kirkpatrick, 08-18-2018, "'I Believe in Nashville' mural vandalized again," WSMV Nashville, https://www.wsmv.com/news/i-believe-in-nashville-mural-vandalized-again/article_ae8c4752-a30c-11e8-8787-4fdfab6f3237.html
  10. ^ "Mural Art." Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice, edited by Gary L. Anderson and Kathryn G. Herr, vol. 2, SAGE Reference, 2007, p. 996. Gale Ebooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX2660300553/GVRL?u=nash87800&sid=GVRL&xid=b3659af3. Accessed 6 Dec. 2019.
  11. ^ Alfs, Lizzy. 5-9-2016, "I Believe in Nashville Muralist goes global," https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2016/05/09/believe-nashville-muralist-goes-international/83924940/
  12. ^ "Howell's Alley," https://www.howellsalley.com/
  13. ^ Luna, Kristin, 3-18-2019, "A Work of Street Art: The Best Murals in Nashville," Camels & Chocolate: Travel & Lifestyles Blog, https://www.camelsandchocolate.com/nashville-murals/
  14. ^ Becker, Heather. "Murals." Dictionary of American History, edited by Stanley I. Kutler, 3rd ed., vol. 5, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003, p. 483. Gale Ebooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3401802792/GVRL?u=nash87800&sid=GVRL&xid=1dc89a6c. Accessed 6 Dec. 2019.
  15. ^ Alfs, Lizzy. 5-9-2016, "I Believe in Nashville Muralist goes global," https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2016/05/09/believe-nashville-muralist-goes-international/83924940/
  16. ^ Alfs, Lizzy. 5-9-2016, "I Believe in Nashville Muralist goes global," https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2016/05/09/believe-nashville-muralist-goes-international/83924940/
  17. ^ "I Believe In Nashville," I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE, https://ibelieveinnashville.com/
  18. ^ Lizzy Alfs, 7-4-2015, "Murals sprouting across East Nashville," Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/07/04/murals-sprout-east-nashville-placemaking-project/29649913/
  19. ^ Jen Todd, 2-23-2016, "Nashville Walls Project provides canvas for street art," Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com/story/life/arts/2016/02/23/nashville-walls-project-provides-canvas-street-art/80765896/
  20. ^ Her Life in Ruins, 7-21-2019, "The Instagrammers Guide to Nashville Murals," https://herlifeinruins.com/nashville-murals/
  21. ^ "I Believe In Nashville," I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE, https://ibelieveinnashville.com/
  22. ^ Brent Moore, 4-4-2016, "I Believe in Smashville," Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/brent_nashville/25775620604
  23. ^ J L Ramsaur, 7-22-2016, "I Believe in Cookeville mural," https://www.flickr.com/photos/photojourney57/32940604792/
  24. ^ Erin Hegarty, 6-27-2019, "New murals invite people to show they ‘believe in Naperville,’ pose with wings made of pizza," chicagotribune, https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-nvs-social-media-art-downtown-naperville-st-20190627-bhi63ztvtvftvczxsftinyw67u-story.html
  25. ^ Midwest Communications Inc., 4-26-2018, ""I Believe in Heroism": Brantley Gilbert to honor Waffle House hero at upcoming symphony show," Great Country 101.9 WDEZ, https://wdez.com/news/articles/2018/apr/26/i-believe-in-heroism-brantley-gilbert-to-honor-waffle-house-hero-at-upcoming-symphony-show/
  26. ^ Gil Kaufman, 11-12-2018, "'I Believe In California' Shirts Benefit Wildfire Victims: Details," Billboard, https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8484372/i-believe-in-california-shirts-benefit-wildfire-victims
  27. ^ Theroncorse, 06-12-2018, "I believe in not standing in line," nashville public art, https://nashvillepublicart.com/2018/06/12/i-believe-in-not-standing-in-line/