Artists Create Gallery In Dilapidated Apartment Building

Posted at 10:09 PM, May 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-30 14:23:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A long standing eyesore got a makeover even before the bulldozers arrived. So many people have driven past the River Village Apartments without giving it a second look. However some local artists saw the vacant building at the corner of Clarksville Highway and 26th Avenue North and thought it looked like the perfect canvas.

“I kind of wanted to be like an optical illusion,” artist Ian Lawrence said while drawing squiggly black lines on a ceiling that’s already painted different shades of green.

It’s sometimes hard to image that the space used to be someone's living room.

“That's a bath tub, was a bath tub” artist Sterling Goller-Brown said about his installation that’s splattered with various colors of paint.

After obtaining the necessary permission, Goller-Brown gathered fellow artists and gave them carte blanche to express themselves on every wall, ceiling, floor and fixture.

“I've kind of curated it to where they can come in and have their own space, their own little gallery, their own bubble,” he said.

Saturday, visitors returned to the once vacant property.

“This is a better way to remember it than the overgrown grass and the trash and the broken glass and all the things you see out here,” visitor Stan Alderson said.

“I think that's something to make it special that the whole gallery is going to be destroyed,” Goller-Brown explained. “But you have to be here to see it or it's just…you'll miss it.”

On Monday bulldozers were set to arrive to make way for an affordable housing complex.

“I hope people take away that graffiti is real art,” artist Kiki Fenteress said. “It's not just a nuisance and people have real talent. And there are just a lot of good artists in this city.”

While the creations are not meant to last forever, art has changed what many were now seeing in a place that has been easy to ignore.

“It's pretty mind blowing how kind of dilapidated this building was,” Fentress said. “So it's kind of neat to see it become kind of pretty.”

Artists were going to have another chance to leave their mark. During construction, plywood will be installed along a fence so muralists can create artwork that's visible to everyone who passes by.