The Top 5 Best Public Art Murals in Columbia, TN
Whether you’re an art lover or you want to take some cool pictures, you might be on the hunt for murals in Columbia, Tennessee. This town is home to a historic Arts District that features pieces from talented local artists. You’re bound to come across various styles if you start driving around, but we understand that you might want some direction. We know this town like the back of our hand and have top recommendations from locals, so we’re here to present the five best public art murals in Columbia, Tennessee.
The Dimple of the Universe
If you’re visiting Columbia, Tennessee, and want to let everyone on social media know where you are, take a picture at The Dimple of the Universe, a mural by Bryson Leach. It features a red, white, and blue color palette and a message that warmly welcomes visitors to the city. Underneath the greeting, it says “The Dimple of Universe.” This curious tagline is one of the oldest known nicknames for Maury County. John Trotwood Moore penned the phrase in his 1903 book, “Songs and Stories from Tennessee,” when he referred to the Middle Basin as “the dimple of the universe.”
Though regions ranging from Nashville and Fayetteville to Pulaski claimed this title, it became the official tagline for Maury County with the help of many sources. Columbia Military Academy used the tagline in early 1900s advertising campaigns, and the U.S Post Office returned two dead letters addressed to the “Dimple of the Universe” to Columbia, Tennessee. So even if you’re a local who’s indifferent about the welcome message on this mural on the Leach’s Needle & Grain shop on North Garden Street, you’re bound to appreciate its nod to Columba history.
As you drive around Columbia, you’ll notice lots of murals with mules. It might seem like an odd element to incorporate in your art, but it makes sense once you learn that Columbia is also known as the “Mule Capital of the World.” It earned this title because of the town’s widespread breeding and training of mules for the military during World War I. One of the most iconic murals that incorporate mules is Muletown Gothic on West Seventh Street.
Artists Whitney Herrington and Meredith Elmore parodied the classic 1930 American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. Artists have satirized this painting for decades, but we promise you haven’t seen quite anything like Muletown Gothic. Instead of two farmers representing rural Midwestern life, the mural features two mules in human clothing. The comically large glasses on one of the mules further conclude that this is one of the most unique murals in the city. Kids and adults alike love to take their pictures in front of this hilarious yet brilliant piece.
Muletown Lumberyard is a rustic wedding and event venue in historic downtown Columbia. Having received the 2020 award for Best Maury Wedding Venue, the establishment is a hotspot among many engaged couples. The beautiful venue is the perfect place to host a ceremony and celebrate with loved ones at the reception. Seeing as Muletown Lumberyard on South Garden Street is in the heart of the Arts District, it’s only appropriate that it features an iconic mural.
This piece by Quan McFall and Levi Gurchiek incorporates the town’s history by featuring two mules touching snouts inside of a heart. This adorable image is surrounded by flowers and features a diamond above it with the title “Muletown Lumberyard.” Lots of couples take their wedding photos in front of the piece, but you don’t have to be tying the knot to snap a picture. Go with loved ones for a memorable photoshoot and congratulate any couples you see going into the venue.
Fire Department Mural
The Fire Department Mural by Michael Colley is also on South Garden Street, making it the perfect attraction to visit after Muletown Lumberyard. Colley created this piece in 2017 to honor the Columbia Fire Department’s 150th anniversary that took place the following year. After spending two weeks working around tumultuous weather, he finished a beautiful addition to Columbia Fire Station No. 1. It simultaneously honors the department’s rich history and the achievements of today’s firefighters.
In the center, three horses pull the department’s original fire engines. John C. Hackney, the city’s first black firefighter, sits at the reins. The mural also features Frank C. Howell, a firefighter who gave his life while responding to a Woodland Street fire in 1965. Surrounding the mural is Firefighters Park, which also commemorates the accomplishments of the Columbia Fire Department. Visitors can enjoy the gazebo and benches on the city’s nicest days. If you visit at the right time, you might even be able to see the Ahrens Fox 1930s original firetruck on display.
It’s only appropriate to end this list with a mule-inspired mural. The Mule Queen piece on East Sixth Street is yet another gift from Whitney Herrington, though this time she teamed up with Becky Smith. Smith is the owner of the Linen Duck store in downtown Columbia where the mural lives. McFall, who also created Muletown Lumberyard, helped paint the town’s iconic mascot and crown. The colorful flowers surrounding the mule further elevate its elegance.
Perhaps the best part about Mule Queen is the floating crown that’s set off to the right. Painted butterflies hold up the crown so that you can stand under it to create the illusion that you’re matching with the mule. After you take some memorable pictures with this mural, consider visiting the Linen Duck. This boutique store has lots of cute jewelry and furniture that you could spend hours looking at.
These five best public murals in Columbia, Tennessee, are bound to make your visit more interesting or give you something to do on the weekends. If you find other murals that are worthy of being on this list, let us know here at Stan McNabb Chevrolet of Columbia. You can even tag us in your best mural pictures on social media.