Faces of North Nashville: Art gallery celebrates the rich history of a part of town historically overlooked

Posted at 10:20 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 23:20:55-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Moments captured perfectly in photos can inspire feelings of awe.

It's an emotion that fills the room, when people enter the newest art gallery in North Nashville.

Inside the Faces of North Nashville exhibition, you'll see a lot of eyes-wide with astonishment and fingers pointing at places that once existed.

"This is great it brings back great memories of growing up in North Nashville, especially in this area. So a lot of things I'm familiar with," North Nashville native George Hood said.

Hood said he appreciated seeing the photographs because they reminded him of his childhood.

"Jefferson Street was the hub. That's where everything was. You didn't have to leave Jefferson Street to do anything. Movies, churches, doctors, dentists — you name it. Jefferson Street had it," he said.

Friends Carlos Partee and Michael Ewing worked together to carefully curate the gallery.

"Being able to go and see ourselves in these images and feel the images, like they're coming to life," Partee said.

Together they explored the archives at Fisk University and hand-selected portraits to tell the story of a neighborhood historically ignored, but consistently persistent.

"So many black businesses left North Nashville, Jefferson Street, when the highway passed through here, or just because deinvestment into the community," Ewing said.

Pictures date back to the 1900s and each hold special memories.

"What we discovered was they were just like us. They liked to hang out on the corners, they liked to work, they liked to have parties. They were in love. They wanted the same things that we want for our kids and family and friends in general," Partee said.

For those who catch a glimpse, it's hard not to travel back in time and reminisce on what once was.

"You hate to see a lot of this just fade away, but regentrification, and they're making a way for other things. But we're losing the history of our city, especially in Black neighborhoods," Hood said.

The gallery will run until Jan. 15. You can make an appointment to visit before then.

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