June 5, 2021


Today was my first glimpse of the new downtown 5th & Broadway development. It’s certainly a far cry from the old Nashville Convention Center that it replaced.  Food halls, upscale retail and restaurants, and anchored by the National Museum of African American Music.  And don’t forget the crowds of tourists—so many people.  That seemed like old times for downtown Nashville—but 5th & Broadway was a totally unfamiliar sight and didn’t have much of a Nashville feel about it.

But as we were leaving, I spotted the Swipe Right Art Gallery.  And while glancing around at their featured artwork, I saw this display of Aaron Grayum’s paintings.  Then I felt like I was downtown at last!

I started working with Aaron just a few years after I moved to Nashville.  He was a graphic designer and did freelance work for us at the Nashville Downtown Partnership.  He was very soft-spoken and easy to collaborate with on our projects.  He did excellent work for us and gradually began focusing more on his painting.  I love the whimsical style of his work and he’s recently also done some more impressionistic paintings. It’s wonderful to see that he’s a featured artist at this new gallery in this new downtown development.

Tonight is the monthly downtown art crawl and the gallery owner said Aaron would be there painting live tonight. She sent him a text to tell him I said hello! 

This is one of Aaron’s prints I bought early this year.  He and other artists did murals for windows along 2ndAvenue North that were damaged by the Christmas Day bombing. I loved the hope expressed in Aaron’s mural. Less than six months after that devastating event, recovery is well under way.  Much more remains to be repaired and rebuilt but now it seems possible again.  Artists like Aaron are part of the resilience that defines Nashville.

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