Mayor’s Youth Council, AkzoNobel and local artist dedicate new mural at downtown library

The new ‘My Nashville’ mural was created by Mayor’s Youth Council, AkzoNobel and local artist, Jake Elliott.

Nashville is known for colorful and unique murals, and on October 20 added another one at the downtown library.

The mural is entitled ‘My Nashville.’ It was created thanks to a community program grant by AkzoNobel, a leading global paints and coatings company, and the Nashville Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC).

The ‘My Nashville’ mural is the third community-wide project born from the partnership between AkzoNobel and the MYC. Over the summer, youth came together to lead, design and execute the painting through a series of workshops led by artist and project manager Jake Elliott of WHAT Creative Group. The final quilt mural was painted in June and July at the NPL by students, volunteers, local AkzoNobel employees and community partners, and is now on display in the NPL main parking garage.

“The mural symbolizes the pride of Nashville’s youth and community members have in being part of our vibrant city,” says Nashville Mayor David Briley. “We’re happy to have engaged corporate community members like AkzoNobel, who are dedicated to helping transform our urban landscapes in a positive way. Much like a quilt, the ‘My Nashville’ mural combines snapshots of impressions around our city.”

The mural project aims to unite the community through the common goals of helping youth exercise their leadership and promoting the importance of public art to the community as a whole.

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 also provides up to 10 academic scholarships for Nashville youth.

The mural dedication ceremony recognized the youth who planned and organized the project as well as seven students receiving scholarship funds toward their education: Lauren Estrada, Anyah Gilmore-Jones, Leah Faulkner, Jaressa Hawkins, Rachel Holt, Iyan Jackson, and Jasmine Johnson.

“We are proud to support the Mayor’s Youth Council. Seeing the youth take ownership of the public art projects is inspiring and makes us proud to be part of Nashville,” said Yvette Williger, AkzoNobel People Services Leader. “AkzoNobel came to Nashville in 1947, and since then, we have been an active and hands-on corporate member of the community, with many of our employees volunteering for the projects.”

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. Over the next few years, the company also expects to add more than 30 manufacturing jobs as part of a $10 million investment to expand production capacity at its Nashville facility.

The Mayor’s Youth Council is comprised 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 it is to train the next generation of leadership through community service and positive action.

This is the second mural made possible through AkzoNobel’s community grant and on display at the Nashville Public Library. In June, a replica of the ‘Unity’ mural was put on the outside of the downtown Nashville Public Library. A second, 40-foot replica of the ‘Unity’ mural (dedicated in May 2018) is on the Metro Parks Maintenance Barn along Interstate 440. The original ‘Unity’ mural is on permanent display at the Metro Parks Centennial Sportsplex Fitness Center.

To date, three of the 10 projects in this series have been completed. A tree planting and park improvement event took place at Wright’s Park in November 2017.