collaboraTors, Muralists, activists
Norf Art Collective
We All Grow When We All Eat, 2018
Multimedia food-justice campaign
Norf Art Collective is composed of five artists and muralists based in Nashville. Advocates of affordable housing and good food, Norf believes that everyone deserves access to healthy foods, neighborhood improvements, and inclusive communities. Their project kicks off with a vinyl bus wrap for the Nashville Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), in conjunction with the “Arts N Motion” program that promotes the work of local artists. Taking a playful approach to the intersection of food and gentrification, Norf’s bus wrap features the campaign’s mascot, “Nibs the Caterpillar,” eating foliage in the shape of Nashville: his biggest bites correlate with the areas of Nashville experiencing rapid change.
In August 2018, Nibs will also appear in a monochromatic mural on the large window panes of Music City Central bus terminal, where he and his insect friends play a more positive role in the environment. Depicted working in teams, feasting on fruits and vegetables, and exchanging the Tennessee state flower, the insects exemplify the collaboration, neighborliness, and sharing of resources necessary for everyone in the city to prosper. On another window pane, local flora such as passion fruit and Echinacea take anthropomorphic form to represent, as the artists have said, “the Nashville natives who need nurturing but are being pushed further away from each other” due to gentrification-driven displacement. Bus riders become part of this narrative as they are seen through the negative space of the design, that is, the exposed glass. We All Grow When We All Eat addresses the critical role of connectedness and transportation not only in a burgeoning city but in achieving health equity.
The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is a public transportation agency. Consisting of city buses and paratransit vehicles, the system serves Nashville and Davidson County. Music City Central (400 Charlotte Ave., Nashville, TN 37219) is the downtown hub for all MTA buses.