Miles 25 & 26: Emphasis. Change. We Are Nashville

Well, I know this looks an awful lot like Mile 24, but I just couldn’t bring myself to paint over it. Maybe there was a reason I haven’t painted the last two miles in the past few weeks (I thought I was just being lazy. or was scared to finish). It hit me today that I should combine miles 24, 25, and 26 as a tribute to my flooded Nashville.

The design principle for Mile 25 was EMPHASIS. The assignment was to paint a word or phrase that reflected something that needed more emphasis in my life. Since the floods of the past weekend, I think we are all realizing we need to emphasize each other right now. We need to provide money and time to those who lost everything to the waters. We need to stand up together to rebuild this great city of ours. We are Nashville. So that’s my phrase for the emphasis mile. The letters were cut out of cardboard that was soaked from the floodwaters in my basement. What was wet and ruined is now dry and beautiful. We can do the same for our city.

In Mile 26, the finish line mile, we were to paint the change we wish to create. I want to change this city into what it was last week, but with stronger, more unified citizens. I want Nashville to be like the one in my painting. So I couldn’t paint over it. My mile 24 IS my mile 26. Some tragic things happened in between the two, but we’ll come back strong. We Are Nashville.

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My Sweet Nashville

This is my first non-art-related blog post. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now (well, probably. we still haven’t gotten too much national news coverage), Nashville experienced intense rain this past weekend that resulted in severe flooding in many parts of the city (click here for a quick overview and some heart-wrenching images). Some Nashville landmarks, including the Opryland Hotel, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Grand Ole Opry House were all damaged. In addition, thousands of homes are ruined and 21 lives (and counting) were lost. I still haven’t painted over my Nashville painting, and I’m not totally sure I can bring myself to now that the city has been “painted” over in a way that is all too real.

I was actually out of town for the rain, but am certainly back for the aftermath. My house suffered some flooding in the basement and some minor damage, but I can’t complain after seeing what so many others are going through. I have only seen the damage downtown, which is dramatic and overwhelming. I am so sad for my sweet city. Someone today said they feel the same as they did after 9.11. I agree. It’s so surreal how much damage there is and how much sadness we are all feeling.

Amazingly, this city has united in a way I never expected. I signed up to volunteer with Hands on Nashville, but haven’t yet been able to participate in any of their flood relief activities because the spots are filling so quickly. People seem to be giving money, necessities, and their time in droves. There haven’t been any stories of crime or looting. Amazing.

If you’d like to help get the city back up and running, all of us Nashvillians would be so appreciative. There are lots of places to donate money, but here are some that I am more familiar with:

Second Harvest Food Bank– Every dollar donated provides FOUR meals for hungry Nashvillians, and unfortunately the number of hungry Nashvillians has increased in the past few days.

The Bridge Bunch– Nashville has an extensive Tent City that housed many of our homeless. Unfortunately it was washed away with the floods. The Bridge Bunch provides food, clothing, and assistance to these Tent City citizens on a daily basis. Your monetary contribution will help them to buy new tents, clothes, sleeping bags, pots and pans, etc. for these guys who literally have lost everything.

Red CrossText REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the Nashville Disaster Relief Fund. You can also donate online.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee– In partnership with Davidson County’s Office of Emergency Management, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has activated its Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund to help to those affected by the floods.

Thank you so much for anything you can contribute, and please continue keeping our city in your thoughts and prayers.