Book Review – Nashville/Davidson County Public Art

Title: Nashville/Davidson County Public Art: Location Study & Typology Recommendations
Format: Paperback
Published: This format printed 2010

Okay, Nashville/Davidson County Public Art is a unique thing I managed to find on the shelves in my local library when I was randomly checking the shelves. Apparently our local government voted for 1% of the budget to go towards public art – I’ll leave most of the commentary out of this, but I’m torn between thinking we need more things to enrich and enlighten and thinking that 1% of the budget is a lot when we’re short of funding for things like education; what do you think? – and this is the report/study/whatever done to evaluate locations in the county.

There’s a section at the front that explains the book and the process, and a few appendices/that type of thing in the back. The bulk of the book, though, is made up of the site studies. A map of the location with a few landmarks (local businesses, schools, welcome centers, whatever) marked, a couple photos of the area, and paragraphs about both the site and what should go there. Then there’s a couple pages of photos of other pieces of public art across the country in a similar vein.

I’ve got to say that I’ve learned a lot about my county from this book. History of parts of town, little factoids, etc. They also explained both what was going in a site if construction was underway, or what was already there. I liked that stuff, because I like silly trivia. Just sayin’. Also, as a not TN native, I don’t know a lot of the local history that I would have learned in schools. So it was nice to learn something about my area.

So how to give you a rating. Personally, I give the book a 4/5. I really liked it, and the public art – although sometimes very odd – was mostly really cool. (Side note – I had no idea that Cleveland, OH had so much public art, and they didn’t even put the Free stamp, which we all know about if we came from anywhere near there, in the book) So I think it was interesting. If you’re from the area, or you’re into public art or sculpture or design, it’s interesting. With that said, I think this is going to appeal to a very specific demographic (after all, the book wasn’t even really sold anywhere, just distributed to the important key people who needed the study) and if you’re not part of that, just keep walking on by if you happen to see a copy.

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