Nashville shines spotlight on diversity

Students from the Mayor’s Youth Council along with volunteers help paint the 40-foot mural titled, Unity celebrating Nashville’s cultural diversity.

Nashville is celebrating its cultural diversity by dedicating a colorful and giant mural, titled Unity, which was created with the help of students from the Nashville Mayor’s Youth Council, volunteers from AkzoNobel – a global paints and coatings leader – and local artist Andee Rudloff.

The 40-foot mural will be prominently placed at the Metro Parks Maintenance Barn along Interstate 440, where thousands of commuters will see it daily. The mural depicts images that symbolize peace and unity. To create the artwork, Rudloff combined hundreds of individual drawings that Nashville youth submitted.

“The mural is a vibrant visual symbolizing the bright future that our promising young community members are helping to shape,” says Mayor David Briley.

“The mural’s title – Unity – represents our city’s cultural diversity and our strong community partnerships. We are always stronger together.”

The mural was created during the 2017 Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival, an annual event to recognize and embrace the city’s diversity. The artwork is part of a series of 10 student-led, civic improvement projects, in which the Mayor’s Youth Council helps beautify the city over the course of two years. The projects are made possible through a $100,000 grant from AkzoNobel. The funding will also provide up to 10 academic scholarships for Nashville youth.

“We are proud to support the Mayor’s Youth Council and thank all our employees who have volunteered to help create this mural,” says Yvette Williger, AkzoNobel People Services Leader based in Nashville. “AkzoNobel came to Nashville in 1947, and since then, we have made it our mission to be an active corporate member of the community.”

AkzoNobel added nearly 60 professional jobs to its Nashville site in 2017 to staff a new shared service center, centralizing jobs from six other U.S. sites, and plans to expand production capacity at its Nashville facility.

The Mayor’s Youth Council consists of students from 23 public, private and charter schools located in Nashville. Members of the group are involved in student-led programs through the city’s Oasis Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to train the next generation of leadership through community service and positive action.

The mural dedication ceremony takes place on Friday, May 11, at 3:30 p.m. at the Metro Parks Maintenance Barn, 511 Oman Street (behind the Administrative Office Building). A second replica of the mural will be put on the outside of the downtown Nashville Public Library in early June. The original mural is on permanent display at the Metro Parks Centennial Sportsplex Fitness Center.

Check out how the mural was created