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Madison Public Art

Based on recommendations in the NashvilleNext General Plan and the Public Art Community Investment Plan, Metro Arts is embarking on a multi-faceted long term public art investment in the Madison neighborhood. In addition, Metro Arts was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works: Creativity Connects grant to support a collaboration between Metro Arts, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity & Empowerment, and the Financial Empowerment Centers to study and implement creative neighborhood development policies in Madison.

To date, two projects have been approved by the Public Art Committee and the Metro Arts Commission:

Madison Community Center Artist in Residence: Brandon Donahue

Brandon Donahue and child collaborating on artwork

During the months of June and July 2017, Donahue conducted a residency with youth at the existing Madison Community Center to cultivate collaboration and inspiration for the public artworks for the new Madison Community Center, which is under construction. Donahue engaged youth at the Madison Community Center in silhouette creation workshops that were designed to express who they are and what is important to them.

In September 2017, the Public Art Committee and the Metro Arts Commission approved Brandon Donahue’s artwork concepts for the new Madison Community Center. The artwork concepts, inspired by Donahue’s residency, utilize themes of health, fitness and identity. Donahue proposes to create two artworks: youth identity silhouettes, which will be installed on the glass surrounding the walking/running track, and an eight by eight foot video game, inspired by the silhouettes, which encourages movement and wellness. The video game will be activated on a screen within the Community Center lobby.

About Brandon Donahue

Brandon Donahue is a Nashville-based artist and associate professor of fine art at Tennessee State University. His work explores the ways that sports and art intersect in the same space. By deconstructing the objects that are used in each sport, he discovers new ways to view the sport. Donahue’s works embodies race, class, and the transformational spirit of the vernacular. He searches for and collects articles and materials with a specific history. He then adds to the history of the object by employing multiple techniques and processes such as airbrushing, spray painting, vacuum forming or simple reassembling the object. His work has been exhibited throughout the Southeast and can be found in the collections of Tennessee State University, The University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Toyota of Franklin, Tenn.

About the Madison Community Center

Construction is currently underway at Madison Park for a new 25,000 square foot Madison Community Center, scheduled to open in February of 2018. The LEED-certified facility will include a gymnasium, dance room, fitness center, meeting rooms, and track. The center will be a valuable gathering space for the diverse community that includes environs surrounding the Rivergate Mall, constituents in rural areas in northwest Goodlettsville, residents of historic downtown Madison, and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Madison Neighborhood Residency: Matthew Mazzotta

Metro Arts has commissioned artist Matthew Mazzotta to conduct a neighborhood residency, which will inform a permanent public artwork for the community of Madison. The Neighborhood Residency will begin with a series of community engagement events called Outdoor Living Rooms that Mazzotta will develop and facilitate over the course of Fall 2017 and early 2018. At the end of the neighborhood residency phase, Mazzotta will propose a concept for a permanent public artwork to the community, the Public Art Committee and the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.

About Matthew Mazzotta

Matthew Mazzotta is a conceptual artist who creates permanent and temporary public interventions that range from opening up new social spaces inside the built environment, to addressing more pressing environmental issues, but always with a focus on community and public participation.

Mazzotta’s work evolves from an interest in exploring the relationship between people and their environments, as well as between each other. His practice is conceptual and manifests as participatory public interventions that aim at bringing criticality and a sense of openness to the places we live. The work triggers social situations that open space for dialogues around issues of ‘becoming’, understanding that there is much more to us than our surroundings give us credit to ‘be’. The objects, situations, and spaces he creates as community projects and participatory interventions ask us to relate to ourselves and each other in unfamiliar ways, in hopes of finding new perspectives on how we see ourselves in this world.

These efforts have resulted in over a dozen community-specific public art and projects in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His most well-known project is Open House in York, Alabama.


Madison Community’s History

Originally known as Haysboro, the Madison community was founded from early settlements that migrated north from Fort Nashborough, near what is today downtown Nashville. The centerpiece of the community was a church called Spring Hill Meeting House, which was built by Reverend Thomas Craighead in 1785 on the property that is currently occupied by the Spring Hill Funeral Home. The town, renamed Haysborough, quickly established local prominence after three stage coach lines were built by 1830. Madison Stratton, a prominent leader of the community, sold a portion of his land to prompt Tennessee’s construction of the railway line that connects Bowling Green, Kentucky and Clarksville, Tennessee. Formerly known as Madison Station, the Amqui Station railway station is a historic monument for the Madison community today.

Madison’s present day growth was initiated by several significant events in the community’s history. Workers were drawn to Old Hickory during the Power Plan Boom of 1916. The establishment of Old Hickory as an industrial center caused many workers to move to nearby Madison. In 1956, the Madison Square Shopping Center opened, offering an attractive retail experience to Madison community members. The Old Hickory Dam was also completed in 1956 and Old Hickory Lake, only ten minutes from Madison, became one of the largest recreational lakes in Tennessee. The 1977 opening of the Madison Library further expanded the amenities of the community. As of 2009, Madison holds 69 historic features, 12 of these features located at the Old Hickory Bridge, Idlewild Mansion, and National Cemetery sites that are included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Madison has a long-standing reputation as an employment and residential stronghold in the Nashville area. The community’s 2,000 acres of commercial, office, and industrial land are valuable economic assets for Davison County. The diverse rural, suburban, and urban housing options that Madison offers have created a vibrant neighborhood character that continues to attract new, diverse residents to the community.

(Excerpt from NashvilleNext, 2015)