The Man Behind the “I Believe In Nashville” Mural

What Adrien Saporiti Says About His Mural Now

It used to just be one of the countless backdrops for all the tourists and their never-ending photo shoots in and around East Nashville.

But after the tornado that hit the city so hard on Tuesday morning (March 3), it has come to mean so much more.

Adrien Saporiti, the artist who created the I Believe in Nashville mural — first in the 12 South neighborhood, then outside Marathon Music Works, and then on the exterior wall of the Basement East venue — posted his thoughts on the mural’s deeper meaning in the aftermath of the storm. The Basement East was destroyed in the tornado, but somehow, the mural remains intact.

“Ten years ago I was graduating and moving back when the floods came. Being away from home and feeling helpless was a strange and difficult feeling. But that moment showed our resiliency, our resolve, and our strength and ability to come together. It was a transformative moment for the city of Nashville,” Saporiti wrote of his arrival in Nashville in 2010.

“That time eventually became part of my inspiration behind creating the I BELIEVE IN NASHVILLE image. It seems ironic to say now, but at the time I simply saw an area in transformation, a building that was empty and gutted, and so my thought was to put up a mural and see what would happen, hoping that it might be something that could connect people.

“Seeing the image of the Basement East was deeply impactful for me,” he added, “as it was for the rest of the city and those with connections to her. Mike, Dave and their whole team have been a part of my life since before they knew me, when I was a teenager sneaking into shows at the original Basement. It is difficult to know they are hurting, but I know they, and everyone else affected, has the rest of the city behind them. I am touched to see the image of my mural still standing, and reminded of its original intent. I hope it offers some solace and connection now to anyone who needs it.”

At the end of his post, Saporiti added that in times of trouble, that’s when you need to rely on that belief in Nashville.

“Difficult times reveal our values and call upon us to demonstrate them. Nashville will come together; we will reach out to neighbors, lend a hand, offer a place to stay. And then we will rebuild. We’ve done it before, and if the time comes, we’ll do it again. There is a kindness and generosity here that does not exist everywhere, and we are very fortunate for that. It is one of our most beautiful qualities.

“If the glitz and the glamour should fade, I hope that remains. I hope we remember it and practice it not only when called upon, but when it isn’t. I believe we will.”
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From all of us at CMT, our hearts are with our friends and neighbors affected by the recent storms in Tennessee. To make a donation, click here. Recovery is a long process and your donation can provide warm meals, shelter, and hope to communities in need. Please give what you can.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
@alisonbonaguro