A Little Spanish Magic in Nashville

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Sculpture one

Stainless steel is painted white and then illuminated within to shine brightly in the dark.

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Near the sphere sculpture two guitarists serenaded visitors as they strolled through the gardens.

Jeff and I have discovered a small, beautiful gem in Nashville that we’ve embraced with our whole hearts. Cheekwood Art & Garden. Small. Lovely. Artful. Natural. Peaceful. It has a golf course on one side with Tennessee mountains hugging the other three.

We’ve seen it dressed in Fall leaves, trimmed with trees at Christmas, blanketed with tulips in Spring, and now aglow with lighted sculptures for Summer.

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The sculptures are made of letters from several different alphabets. Inside the sphere is the figure of a person symbolically contemplating language.

This nighttime Cheekwood was different. Soft Spanish music floated across the landscape enticing us to whisper and hold hands. Sculptures twinkled over ponds, near hedges, around trees. It was magical. We stopped by the food truck and bought a couple of hot chicken tacos to eat on a little bench by a babbling brook in front of the mansion.

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These two mesh sculptures were mounted over a pond, floating above the water with twinkling reflections.

crown-fountain-at-dawn_520The sculptor is Jaume Plensa, a Spanish artist who certainly has a different way of looking at the world. In the mansion we watched a video exploring his art. We were surprised to find out that he is the same artist who created the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park (yes, the park with the big bean) that we visited a few years ago. That sculpture is an enormous wall that has an ever-changing variety of video faces spewing water unto a long wading pool. It’s a little disconcerting. And a lot cool.

The sculptures at Cheekwood can be seen any time the Garden is open. But I highly suggest you visit on one of the Spanish Nights (July–October) to get the full effect of the sculptures. Go before twilight to enjoy the flowers, trees, and museum. Then walk the grounds as darkness settles in. It is a bit like a fairytale with twinkle lights, uneven stairs, and all.

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This guy can be found just down the hill from the mansion/art museum where more sculpture are displayed. Instead of letters, he is put together with musical symbols–perfect for Nashville.

 

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