Dolly Parton was honored with a piece of public art right in the center of Nashville. On Oct. 21, a large-scale mural, located at the Acme Feed & Seed restaurant at 101 Broadway in downtown Nashville, was unveiled to help bring awareness to and raise funds for Parton’s Imagination Library charity.
Endorsed by the country legend herself, in collaboration with CTK Entertainment, the mural was painted by Nashville-based artist MacKenzie Moore, who has worked on other pieces on Kacey Musgraves, the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more. The mural faces 1st Ave. and the Cumberland River and features Parton in a collage of bright florals, rainbows, and butterflies.
“You really feel the weight of trying to represent her accurately,” said Moore of her work. “I want to make her proud or make something she would be proud to be associated with. Yeah, it’s definitely in the back of your mind when you’re representing someone as iconic as Dolly Parton. If there’s one thing we know about her is she loves the Great Smoky Mountains.”
Moore added, :All of the flora and the fauna that you see in the mural can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains. It really means a lot. She was a little involved in the design process which is really special. I’m just really so grateful to be asked to be a part of this.”
The unveiling was also tied to a fundraising campaign for Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides books to millions of children around the U.S. free of charge for children from birth to 5 years old. A QR code at the site of the mural allows visitors to donate directly to Imagination Library.
A new bill recently signed into California law will provide children with free books with the help of the Imagination Library program. The bill (SB 1183) was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newson and will begin in June of 2023.
Several other murals honoring Parton have been popping up in Tennessee since 2020. In 2020, Nashville-based artist Kim Radford painted another piece outside The 5 Spot venue on Forrest Avenue in East Nashville in mid-August paying tribute to Parton’s stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The day before I finished the mural, Dolly had an amazing press release about her upcoming Christmas album” “As I painted the final touches, I knew her sassy loving quote: ‘Of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little White asses are the only ones that matter?’ would be a perfect finish to send out in my neighborhood,” said Radford in 2020.
Most recently, the city of Ringgold, Tennessee commissioned artist Kim Radford to paint another mural called “Tie the Knot” at the corner of Nashville St. and Tennessee St., honoring Parton’s marriage to Carl Dean on May 30, 1966, in the city.
Photo: Stacie Huckeba/Butterfly Records LLC