Notorious B.I.G., Dolly Parton Turned Into Wooden Mosaics by Nashville Nonprofit

A Nashville nonprofit is turning portraits of musicians into works of art.

Videos by American Songwriter

Maple Built, a nonprofit apprentice program that teaches young men the art of woodworking, has portraits all over the city featuring artists in a range of genres, from late rapper the Notorious B.I.G. to country icons Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and George Strait. According to the website, these mosaics are often made from tens of thousands of small wooden tiles that are hand placed.

The B.I.G. photo is made from 6,000 pieces of wooden tiles by one of the apprentices, while Universal Music Group Nashville commissioned Maple Built to create a giant portrait of Strait that hangs in their corporate office in Music City. Parton’s picture can be seen in The Russell Nashville Boutique Hotel and the Nelson portrait was hand-crafted from 7,000 pieces of wood taken from the old flooring of the 506 Loft building in downtown Nashville where it now sits.

A video shows the apprentices at work, gluing the small pieces on a large slab, gently putting them in place to create the masterpieces. Martin Luther King Jr. and local women activists in Nashville are among the other prominent figures who have been transformed into wooden mosaics.

Maple Built was started by brothers Schuyler and Will Anderson in 2016 to employ, train and mentor at-risk youth, working with them for the course of a semester.

“At Maple Built, we believe that success is a combination of hard work and opportunity and that there is no substitute for either,” the organization’s mission states. “We have created an environment where young men are given the opportunity to learn how to work hard and make beautiful products worth being proud of. Our wood shop is a place where we incubate good employees. More than just hiring and training young men, we prepare our apprentices to compete in the job-market at their highest potential.”

Check out the mosaics of the Notorious B.I.G., Parton and Strait below.

(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

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