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21 sculptures doubling as bike racks in Nashville, TN

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One of the 21 artist-designed bike racks. | Photo via Metro Arts

POV: You’re walking down 21st Avenue to grab lunch at SATCO + you come across a 16-ft tall red whisk. Is it more than just an art sculpture?

As it turns out, the sculpture titled “Good Eatsdoubles as a bicycle rack, and it’s not the only one you’ll spot around Nashville.

On Music Row, there’s a gigantic microphone with a coiled cord + the Nashville Farmers Market is home to three artist-designed bike racks: a sliced tomato, rows of corn, and the three grand divisions of Tennessee.

The backstory

In 2009, Metro Arts began commissioning artists within a 200-mile radius to design bike racks (see the full list) that represent neighborhoods in a visually creative way + create new opportunities for residents to experience art.

The first round of seven bike racks was installed in 2010, followed by a second round in 2013-2014. The final round was installed in 2015, meaning you have likely come across a few whether you knew it or not.

Get creative
It’s been many years since Metro Arts installed the last artist-designed bike rack, but it’s possible to create or commission similar public art projects. The department published a 58-page toolkit with a step-by-step guide to creative bike racks — from budgets and timelines to assembling the parts — for business owners and others who want to promote art + cycling.

The guide also serves as an introduction to public art for artists looking to break into the process.