Skip to main content

Nashville Public Library presents curated exhibits in the Main Library Courtyard Gallery and at Branch Libraries. Galleries are open during regular library hours. All exhibits are free and open to the public.

Public Art

In 1998, prior to the passage of the city's Percent for Public Art ordinance, Nashville Public Library chose to allocate $600,000 of its construction budget to public art. Since 2000, with the passage of the public art ordinance, funds have been allocated for public art in all new library buildings.

Bellevue Branch

great beginnings art pic

Great Beginnings

Beverly Stucker
1% for Public Art Program

This large steel and glass sculpture provides an iconic backdrop to the many activities that take place in the library’s outdoor gathering space.

rise above image

Rise Above

Brenda Stein
1% for Public Art Program

Stein’s suspended wood sculpture is inspired by the Bellevue community’s resilience and the limitless possibilities of books and learning. Above the circulation desk and the tech commons, nearly ninety birds gracefully soar together past the clerestory windows.

Donelson Branch

rendering of sculptures in the landscape in front of the donelson library


Wowhaus (Scott Constable and Ene Osteraas-Constable) 
1% for Public Art Program

sculpture suspended in a two-story space

Title TBD

Amber Lelli
1% for Public Art Program

Suspended inside the building, the sculpture brings the beauty of Tennessee's ecosystem into the library.

Goodlettsville Branch

continuum art


Carrie McGee
1% for Public Art Program

Continuum is a series of acrylic tiles that reference the history of the Goodlettsville area and the role of the library as a source of information. The book-like tiles include historical images from Goodlettsville and rust impressions from local items.

seasons picture

Seasons from a Bird's Eye View

Paige Easter and Don Goostree
1% for Public Art Program

Seasons from a Bird's Eye View is a series of mosaic structures located throughout the Goodlettsville Library’s Garrett Memorial Garden. Nashville artists Paige Easter and Dan Goostree designed them to create an enclosed garden space behind the library. The mosaics depict history, edible gardens and color gardens.

Southeast Branch Library

from the four corners picture

From the Four Corners

Paul Vexler
1% for Public Art Program

This large sculpture was heavily influenced by the communities surrounding the branch library and community center. Vexler describes From the Four Corners as “a sculptural metaphor celebrating a rich diverse community.”

Main Library

story of the earth book sculpture

La Storia della Terra

Kubach-Wilmsen Team
Commissioned by Judy and Noah Liff

La Storia della Terra (The Story of the Earth) is a 20-foot tower of stone books. The sculpture was created near Mainz, Germany. There are 26 books, one for each letter of the English alphabet. The granite, marble, and quartz stones originate from five continents.

ridley copper panels

A Story of Nashville

Gregory Ridley

Lining the perimeter of the Grand Reading Room, 80 hammered copper repoussé panels depict Nashville's history, from pre-settlement to the late 20th Century.

Brief Guide to A Story of Nashville (pdf)
Detailed Guide to A Story of Nashville (pdf)

bronze doors

Bronze Doors

Alan LeQuire

The Library's great bronze doors were created by Alan LeQuire, a Nashville artist. The doors depict the native plants and animals of Tennessee, as well as scenes of people reading and learning. These scenes are visible when the library is open. When the library is closed, you see the reverse side, which is a simple, classical design.

haas maps

Nashville, a History Through Maps and Aerial Views

Richard Haas

Eight mural maps that explore the topographic and historic urban development of Nashville, TN. Inside the reading room, the mural culminates in a half medallion above the entry doors. Haas’ sources of inspiration for this project were “The Gallery of Maps” in the Vatican commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII, and the architectural works of William Strickland that once graced, or still stand proudly within, the urban core of Nashville.

sam watkins' head

Sam Watkins' Head

Wayne White and Watkins College Students

Wayne White was a visiting artist at Watkins College when he hosted a workshop to create this large, interactive sculpture of Watkins College of Art and Design founder Samuel Watkins. Come by the Children's Department to turn the crank that rotates Sam Watkins' eyes.

the prince

The Prince

Adrienne Outlaw

Mixed media including heavy gauge aluminum wire, The Prince was inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's book The Little Prince. It hangs in the Craft Room in the Children's Department on the second floor.

Exhibit your work at the Library

Submit proposals for the Main Library Courtyard Gallery to the Library’s Arts Coordinator. To exhibit at a branch library, contact the Branch Manager.

Please review our exhibition policy for complete submission guidelines and criteria.

Request a Tour or School Visit

Main Library offers guided tours, educational experiences, and self-guided tours. Tours should be scheduled at least 1 week in advance. Educational Experiences should be scheduled at least 2 weeks in advance. We encourage you to reserve early because group visits are very popular. A library staff member will contact you to confirm the date and time for your visit. Learn more and make a reservation.