East Nashville neighbor creates makeshift art gallery to keep community connected

Posted at 9:30 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 23:29:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An East Nashville woman created a makeshift art gallery in her front yard as a way to keep her neighborhood connected during COVID-19.

Elizabeth Barna said the project started by finding a way to relax with quarantine coloring.

"I thought, 'this will be relaxing to do, I'm going to fill in some coloring pages,' Barna said. "Then I end up with ten of them and then I'm wondering what I'm going to do with them so I decide I'll laminate them and put them on display in the neighborhood."

Soon it turned into a community project, and now Barna is hoping her neighbors will join in. She's encouraging kids around the neighborhood to drop off their art to be hung up in the improvised exhibit.

"We're just getting started now, but hopefully we have quite a few kids bring some artwork in," Barna said. "I would love it to be more of my just coloring in of pages there!"

Barna said the project comes with a personal touch.

"I am hoping to go into museum work in the future and so I really miss going to museums," she said. "I thought since a lot of kids aren't able to leave their neighborhood, what can we do to bring those things to them and make the neighborhood more heartwarming and interesting?"

Barna said the project is more than just a way to keep people busy, it's an effort to keep the community connected.

"I figure if I can put out something in the neighborhood, in the community, that gives that sense of, 'oh, even though I'm not outside walking around the neighborhood with you, that I'm still here for you.'"

It also sends a message.

"The messages on the coloring pages have to deal with how to handle a pandemic," Barna said. "My favorite one is definitely 'support the most vulnerable.'"

"I think its important in the middle class parts of East Nashville to think about our neighbors and who's being left out of the conversation and what people are really struggling in the pandemic," she continued.

Now she hopes the idea spreads to other mid-state communities.

"That way, it's something for folks to see when they’re walking around their own neighborhoods."