December 2016

by Anne-Leslie Owens
Public Art Project Coordinator


Hume-Fogg High School student Gabrielle Depalo interviewed Civil Rights veteran Vencen Horsley

Public art, by design, invites discussion. Each of us brings our own individual selves to our experience of art. When it is revealed in early 2017, we hope visitors to the artwork Witness Walls will reflect on Nashville’s Civil Rights story and make their own contemporary connections to racial and social justice in Nashville and around the country. We look forward to the conversation.

As part of the Witness Walls project, Metro Arts is pleased to present the “My Witness” podcast series, a collaboration with One Voice Nashville facilitated by storyteller and narrative journalist Mary Margaret Randall. The podcasts feature intergenerational interviews with seven Metro Nashville high-school students and Nashville Civil Rights activists. In one additional podcast, artist Walter Hood discusses his inspirations and hopes for how people will experience Witness Walls.

Taking this conversation a step further, we’ve asked students to share guest blog posts. In the blog posts, students describe what they learned in the interviews and how it impacted their views. Gabrielle “Gabby” Depalo, a recent Hume-Fogg graduate, reflected on her interview with Vencen Horsley, explaining,

Although I have always been passionate about civil rights issues, interviewing Vencen Horsley has reinvigorated my dedication to the cause … This cycle continues through generations because when we listen and empathize with others, our conversations alter the way we see each other, and what we learn about our fellow man teaches us and then reiterates this fundamental “Capital T” Truth: We are all human—we are all connected—we are one.

We hope you will check out the podcast series and blog available at New podcasts will be launched each Monday in January.

Witness Walls will be located on the west side of the historic Metro Nashville Courthouse in Public Square Park. Construction has begun and a dedication will take place after the first of the year. If you would like to receive notice of the dedication event, please email us at

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