William Edmondson sculpts “Mary & Martha” limestone sculpture, October, 1937

NASHVILLE, TN ( June 17, 2021) Responding to concerns from neighborhood groups, developer Marquette Companies has withdrawn their planned use of the name of historic Nashville sculptor William Edmondson in connection with a development they hope to build in Edgehill. Chris Yuko, Director of Development and Acquisitions (Southeast) at Marquette made the announcement Tuesday evening at a community meeting.

Earlier on Tuesday, Yuko met with leaders of the Friends of the William Edmondson Homesite and informed them that he would be making that change in response to the objections that had been raised.

“We are happy that Chris heard the community’s concerns and took immediate action. He also asked to visit with us at the historic Edmondson homesite park, to learn more about William Edmondson and the work we do to preserve his memory and artistic legacy. We look forward to building a partnership with Marquette Companies to work together to honor William Edmondson”, the Friends of the Edmondson Homesite said in a statement released Thursday morning.

The proposed mixed use development, named “North Edgehill Commons”, is planned for a 6.7 acre parcel at 12th Avenue South and Hawkins Street, at the current Beaman body shop location.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Yuko also pledged to work toward addressing a variety of concerns raised by other neighborhood residents. Marquette’s application for SP Zoning goes before the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 24.

The Friends of the William Edmondson Homesite Park & Gardens is a 501c3 non-profit whose stated mission is to preserve, protect, and enhance the historic property in Edgehill where trailblazing African American artist William Edmondson lived and worked. Their Higher Vision Master Plan, developed with the community, envisions a William Edmondson Library and Cultural Arts Center as a future centerpiece of the site that also includes a neighborhood park, arboretum, and community gardens. The Edmondson site is located at 1450 14th Avenue S. in Nashville, TN.

William Edmondson was the first African-American to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, in 1937, He is considered by art historians as one of the most important “self-taught” artists of the 20th century.