Bringing light to the darkness

The power of paint and partnerships helped bring energy and optimism back to a US city which was rocked by an explosion on Christmas Day 2020.

Let’s Color Nashville – part of our AkzoNobel Cares program – brought together businesses, organizations, artists and volunteers to help transform some of the many boarded up buildings that still bear the scars of the terrible event.

We partnered with customers Hoover Paint Stores and LKQ Corporation – along with Nashville’s Civic Design Center, Swipe Right Art and the Community Foundation of Middle of Tennessee – to replace the plain plywood boards with more artistic window panels and bring some much-needed color back to the Second Avenue neighborhood.

“Let’s Color Nashville is a critical project for our downtown businesses to heal and unite,” said Gary Gaston, CEO of the Civic Design Center. “We’re excited to join with AkzoNobel in returning the positive inspiration that boosts the downtown community spirit.”

Added Ashley Bergeron, who curated the artists and artworks: “Art absolutely heals. There’s no question. I think art is the number one communicator that people can understand in a simple way. This is our small gift back to the community, so when the building owners come back to salvage what they can salvage, they’re walking by beauty instead of a reminder of the mess and the trouble.”

AkzoNobel supplied around 1,800 liters of wood primer paint from its site in High Point, North Carolina, which was used as the basecoat for boards temporarily covering 30 commercial windows. Teams of volunteers then created vibrant artwork to help brighten up the blighted downtown area.

Said AkzoNobel volunteer, Jauckque Buford: “Let’s Color Nashville defines what it means to be a member of this community and the power of paint is a way for us to demonstrate our unity and love for each other. That’s who we are.”

Although the windows will eventually be repaired and the artistic panels will come down, they won’t be thrown away. They’ll be gifted to the local community.

People carrying an artwork in Nashville (photo)
Person painting a rainbow in Nashville (photo)
People painting the walls in Nashville (photo)