Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Nashville You May Not See

Whenever I visit a place, finding the local thrift shops is a must  and it was no different during my recent trip with friends to Nashville. [Or "Nashvegas" as it's referred to — in homage to the glittery glitz of its music-inspired downtown strip.]
All the thrift stores were in what I'd call a transitional part of town.  Though I searched high and low I only found a lovely signed photograph that I thought my daughter would like.  She tends to collect art, usually photographs, of doors and windows and since this photo of a painted window Madonna could have been in Italy or New Orleans (two places she really had attachments to) it a small gamble to risk for the grand sum of 39¢.

Make sure you visit if you're in Nashville and love
books (or rhinos) ! They have more than one shop.
Disappointed at my lack of finding a treasure we drop in to Rhino Books — a used book shop that clearly was a book lover's trove — sort of one of those secret book stashes from the film Fahrenheit 451 — crowded shelves piled high with books and when room ran out in a particular section, the books would be stacked on the floor, tabletops or crammed into the many nooks and crannies of this place.  With its twists and turns, metal-gated "rare" book room and spilling-over children's corner, this shop was also stuffed  with all things rhinoceros! [If you want to get some sense of the place, check out the Spooner's site, though I must say the photos portray everything as very orderly and when we visited, that wasn't the case!] In addition to the books and all-things-rhino, the walls were adorned with some great art.

"Is the art for sale?" I inquired of the two women "manning" the shop.

"Well, sometimes  but not if it's anything rhinoceros," I'm warned.  "If it's for sale, it's usually marked on the back."

I'm having a field day examining the etchings, photos, and great posters that are tucked here and there when I come across this unusual and wonderful framed silkscreen hanging on the door to the bathroom.

"Third Street" by Jamey Ponte
Close-up detail — so you can really admire this!

Completely drawn to this gray/black and green work of art that seems a scene captured from the thirties in small-town USA, I can't stop staring at it.  It's not like anything I own.  I shouldn't be spending the money (I'm not working, remember) and I certainly don't need another piece of art and it's not even got a single TREE!  Still, I can't stop staring.  

Reluctantly I remove it from the door, turn it over and don't see a price but do see a typed sheet with everything I need to know.

The artist is Jamey Ponte.  He made this silkscreen and entered it into a Governor's competition in 1984 — 

 when he was a SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL!

Oh my God.  In 12th grade?  He made this gorgeous work of art 30 years ago when he was a teenager?  SO...throwing financial caution to the wind, I tell the women I really want to buy this and they tell me the owner Fred is on his way.  After a bit of back-and-forth, Fred sees that I will cherish this art and agrees to sell and it's carefully packed up for me to cart home on the plane.  

Though I tried searching online to see if Jamey Ponte won that year, the Governor's
Youth Art website only lists winners since 1998.

As far as I'm concerned, Third Street takes the prize.


  1. Glad it has a good home. We try to keep the shelves a single layer
    of books by author and category. Nope you'll visit us again soon.

  2. hey I am Jamey Ponte - just read this and got a laugh of old times and love you have the artwork. although I have no idea how it got to fred's - not sure even who i had sold it to or gave it to. but glad it is loved and hangin on your wall. at least I hope it is.


    1. Jamey! Thanks so much! It IS hanging in our living room and my husband and I love well as several readers who emailed me to say how much they love it as well. wish I had access to your high school artwork that's stashed in someone's attic! I'm pleased for you that you've found your path and are doing such tremendous work in the world. Well done! Thanks so much for writing...

  3. can i find you on facebook- have so enjoyed reading your blog postings. life is good and just about everyday i meet new people with wonderful things to share. - thanks. friend me on facebook if you use it. and by the way it is thrid street in dayton ohio... i posted your blog of it on my facebook already had friends make comments -

    1. Well loads of your friends worldwide having been reading so thanks!

  4. oh and i also do not like onions.