Brenda Harris, left, alongside her husband, Nathaniel “Nate” Harris. Photo by Ashley Benkarski

By Ashley Benkarski

NASHVILLE, TN— It’s been 36 years since Nathaniel “Nate” Harris opened his framing shop, Woodcuts, along the historic Jefferson Street corridor. Now, it’s official: Woodcuts, a staple of North Nashville, has its own historical marker at 1613 Jefferson St., unveiled Friday, March 24, to a crowd of community members and representatives.

Speakers included Bishop Jerry Maynard, Sr., Deputy Mayor Brenda Haywood, Councilman-at-Large Sharon Hurt, District 19 Councilman Freddie O’Connell, former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, Mr. Moses W. Fisher, Jr., and Mr. Anthony Lipscomb. The Harris’s also took to the podium to share their heartfelt thanks to the community and the artists that have helped Woodcuts carve its place into the heart of North Nashville, both figuratively and literally.

Truly “A Cut Above the Rest,” Woodcuts was opened by Harris and his wife, Dr. Brenda Harris, as a project of love and giving back; “planting a seed,” as Deputy Mayor Haywood said. Its story is one of perseverance, commitment and vision—What was once a dilapidated building deemed a blight has become a treasured home of art and community. 

“It is spiritual because when I think about Mr. Nate, and I think about how the Bible says we should walk by faith and not by sight . . . [Nate] could see far past what was actually existing. He had that vision, and he stayed with it, and he endured . . . He has positioned his shoulders so future generations can stand on them and see what intestinal fortitude is; when you have your divine purpose and if you stick with it, you will be victorious. The seeds that God gave him fell on fertile ground, and this the harvest,” Deputy Mayor Haywood expressed.

Councilwoman Hurt, recounting the journey that began in September of 1987, ended her speech of solidarity by triumphantly declaring that business at Woodcuts “is better than ever.”

Harris saw through what was and imagined what could be; the little building adjoining the Fisk University campus was, to him, a place to grow his legacy. And, though he faced skepticism, he knew it could home a viable framing business.

Of course, over the years it’s become so much more than a framing shop. It’s an art gallery and beloved community hub, and now it’s an official part of the historic legacy of Jefferson Street.

“I really appreciate the support from the community all these years, and the support of family and friends and the artists that we represent,” Nate said.