Rachel Tumerman Gives East Nashville a MUCH Needed Public Art 101 Lesson

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Rachel Tumerman, family of mural artist Leah TumermanPosted a very much needed Art 101, in response to the vandalism at the in-progress mural in East Nashville at Five Points. From her Facebook post:

Nashville, hidden underneath my current anger is a deep sadness and disappointment in you. I am beside myself with disbelief that a city that prides itself on being cultured, supportive of the arts, progressive, and hip has proven to be quite the contrary in this particular instance. I feel it necessary to give a 101 on public art at this moment and perhaps a 101 on how to be a decent human being:

  1. ART IS SUBJECTIVE. You are allowed to have opinions. You can like a piece of work or not. You can approve of it’s location or not. HOWEVER, the destruction of a piece of artwork is an act of violence against what is beautiful in this world, which is creation and expression. To me this conjures images of book burnings and sets us back a millennia.
  2. Murals are most often commissioned. This means that an owner of a piece of property hires an artist to do a piece of their choosing. It is THEIR PROPERTY. IT IS THEIR DECISION. IT IS THEIR’S. “I hate that your house is blue, so I’m going to fuck it up” is not really how our right to own property works.
  3. ARTISTS ARE HUMAN BEINGS. They are hired to do a job. They work tirelessly to contribute something good to a community. They sweat in the heat, they hurt their bodies, and they stretch their minds all with the goal of gifting the world something beautiful. This is a job that most are not capable of doing. This is a job WE NEED SOMEONE TO DO to make our communities vibrant, great, beautiful, and full of life. It is in NO WAY OKAY to hurt them in acts of aggression against their work, or to spew negativity while driving by out of your car window. What kind of human being would you truly like to be?? HUMAN DECENCY BASICS!!
  4. ALL ART CONTRIBUTED TO THIS CITY IS GOOD ART. Those damn “toothpicks” in SoBro aren’t my thing. Like, I wouldn’t buy them and put them in my yard. However, the more and more we commission pieces of public art the more amazing our city becomes. It grows. It has an identity. It is beautiful as a WHOLE REAL FULL-OF-FUCKING LIFE CITY. The more the goddamn merrier.
  5. THIS PIECE WASN’T EVEN FINISHED YET. Can we hold off on our epic ravings about it until it is?? Give it a fucking chance.

I know the act of one does not represent the entirety. So can we rally please to support public art?? Can we fix this? Can we prove that as a community we are better than this? Shame on who ever did this. Grow up and protest something that actually is harmful, like violence, racism, misogyny…you pick. I really want to believe that the city I have chosen to live in and contribute to in my own way has the ability to be mature and loving towards something that makes real communities so great.

I would say “End Rant” but I’m not quite sure I’m done fuming over this one, guys.

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  1. […] is now fixing the mural and incorporating the vandalism into the mural. And her sister has a strongly-worded rant about the situation that I think is brilliant. It is a nice Art 101 lesson that cuts through my own woolly […]

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