Omari Booker to Create Art for Nashville Housing Facility

Omari Booker to design public art for Nashville's first Permanent Supportive Housing facility.

The Metro Nashville Arts Commission has selected Nashville-based multi-disciplinary artist Omari Booker to design and create public art for the city’s first Permanent Supportive Housing facility.

Omari Booker studied studio art and graphic design at Belmont University and earned a B.S. in Graphic Design from Tennessee State University. His primary medium is oil painting, which he often combines with mixed media, charcoal, ink, and found objects. He is also known for his large-scale installations, similar to the project planned for the new housing facility.

The Permanent Supportive Housing facility, located at the corner of 1st Avenue North and Jo Johnston Avenue, aims to assist Nashville’s unhoused community by providing housing, mental health, substance abuse, and social services in one location. Construction began in May 2023, led by city leaders and former Mayor John Cooper.

The five-story building will include 90 residential units, laundry rooms, green spaces with views of the Cumberland River, and clinic and office spaces for staff. Booker’s project will feature a painted mural on a retaining wall at the corner of 1st Avenue North and Jo Johnston Avenue, along with three-dimensional elements like large ornamental planters and benches.

Booker expressed his motivation for the project, stating, “For many years I have been observing unhoused members of our society creating living spaces on park benches, sidewalks, and beneath highway overpasses. I often make work that investigates our societal choices to humanize some people and dehumanize others. Through this development and Metro Arts, I’ll have the opportunity to make public work primarily for those who have experienced homelessness and housing insecurity.”

District 19 Councilmember Jacob Kupin also praised Booker’s contribution, saying, “On behalf of District 19, I want to express my deepest congratulations to Omari Booker for this public art installation. Omari shares his philosophy as Freedom Through Art. I hope all who find support at the new facility find their freedom through his art as well.”

This project is funded through Metro Nashville’s Percent for Public Art Fund, established in 2000 under Mayor Bill Purcell. The fund allocates one percent of the Metro Capital Improvements Budget for the commission of artworks in the Metro Public Art Collection. The facility’s dedication and opening are expected in summer 2024.

Source: Read Original Release

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