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Each week on the Junior Curators blog, we travel back in time to a different place in Tennessee history. Stories may be about a famous person, place or event from Tennessee’s past. They will include things like priceless artifacts, pictures, videos, and even some games. Be sure to better understand the story by answering the questions at the end of each post.
After learning the story, be sure to share what you've learned with your parents, family, or friends. Try making your own exhibit about it, shooting a movie, or writing a story about it. Let your creativity run wild!
by Emilee Dehmer
This painting, titled “Downtown Nashville” was painted in 1951 by Joseph Van Sickle.
Believe it or not, this painting is of downtown Nashville. It is the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Union Street. The Banks Clothing Store you can see in the painting is a building that is still there today- just with a different name! There are many different types of painting styles and methods. You can use crayons, pencils, paint, watercolors, and more to create art. This painting was done using watercolors and is in the semi-abstract style. That means it shows something real (like downtown Nashville), but shows it in a different way.
The artist, Joseph Van Sickle, taught at many places in Nashville. He taught at Ward-Belmont and Vanderbilt before later opening his own art studio. He was an early teacher of a well known artist from Tennessee named Red Grooms.
Now, take a closer look at this painting. There are five of Tennessee state symbols hidden somewhere in the painting. See if you can spot:
1. State Flag- TriStar
2. State Cultivated Flower- Iris
3. State Fruit- Tomato
4. State Wild Animal- Raccoon
5. State Reptile- Turtle
1. TriStar- Lower right corner, right above artist signature
2. Iris- In the bottom of the blue beam in the left center
3. Tomato- Middle of the painting, in the red window line, above and to the right of Banks
4. Raccoon- Right of the ALE sign in the yellow
5. Turtle- Top left corner, in the yellow part of the building above the first red window
Emilee Dehmer is an Educator at the Tennessee State Museum.