Nashville is known for its music, of course, but no less a rich tradition is its other great art form, letterpress printing. Once show posters were rolled out of printing studios across the city, generating the buzz that made stars and burnished the legend of Music City, and today you can see the evidence of a letterpress resurgence in Nashville.
A leader in the revival is artist Bryce McCloud, who produces public art (his project “Our Town” invited locals to create self-portraits) and a new wave of posters and album covers for labels like nearby Third Man Records. His studio, Isle of Printing—a hive of paper, wood and centuries-old machines—has fused the printmaking renaissance into Nashville’s restaurant revival, too, producing murals featured at Barista Parlor and Pinewood Social. His latest venture is a gallery/shop/workspace in his studio in Pie Town (a name he coined) that opens to the public this summer. Here are his favorite things to do in town.
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“The Tennessee State Museum is old school in all the right ways. As Nashville rapidly changes, I treasure the TSM as an oasis of calm and a place of reflection on everything that came before.” (Image: hotspotsnashville.com)
“Hatch Show Print has been in operation for over 130 years, preserving the art of letterpress printing long before it came back in favor. This archive of type and posters is rivaled by few in the world.” (Image: hatchshowprint.com)
“I’m certainly not alone in my love for Mas Tacos Por Favor. It’s one of Nashville’s more recent local legends. The Chicken tortilla soup is a must-try.” (Image: facebook.com/mastacos)
“There are two Barista Parlor locations in town, both with great coffee. The Golden Sound location also has the world’s largest origami letterpress installation, made by us at Isle of Printing.” (Image: Matt Hranek)
“You might not guess it, but the Nashville Public Library is a seriously cool spot. The Downtown Library has puppet shows every Friday and Saturday, free to the public. The Civil Rights Room is a really interesting window into our city’s past.” (Image: Library.Nashville.org)