Save Our Dragon
Now Nashville’s dragon needs our help. Its beautiful tilework is sluffing off, and there are large cracks forming in its high arches. This is due to the extremes of weather and thermal forces over time.
The Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association in Nashville, Tenn., is launching a campaign to raise funds to restore the dragon. Our goal is to raise enough money for periodic maintenance as well, so this unique centerpiece to one of our city's great urban parks can continue to entertain and inspire future generations.
Our goal is to raise $200,000, and we need your help!
If you would like to help us Save Our Dragon, please donate today. No donation is too small (or too large). Also, follow us on Facebook to share memories, learn about upcoming events and get involved:
ABOUT OUR DRAGON
Installed in 1980, Nashville's dragon is the result of an amazing community project led by the late New York artist Pedro Silva. Hundreds of volunteers, of all ages and from various walks of life, came together to create the tile vignettes that form our dragon’s colorful exterior. They weren’t experienced artists. They simply had the desire to take part in creating a unique piece of art that would serve as the backdrop for a children’s playground, and an adult’s oasis, in the heart of the city. Now let's come together again and Save Our Dragon.
ABOUT HILLSBORO-WEST END NEIGHBORS
The Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, was founded in 1975 on the principles of community, preservation and engagement. An early endeavor was fighting the construction of I-440 for 10 years until achieving placement below grade. The neighborhood got its start in 1910 when a new streetcar line out to Blair Blvd. sparked a wave of home building. Today, HWEN boasts the largest cohesive collection of early 20th century houses in all of Nashville. It also is home to Fannie Mae Dees Park (aka: Dragon Park) and Nashville's iconic dragon sculpture. HWEN is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and much of it is protected by Conservation Zoning.
We met a major milestone in January 2018. Phase one of the Dragon’s restoration is now over. HWEN’s team of expert craftsmen repaired 100-plus major cracks, offsets and holes along the beloved 200-foot-long, 13-foot-high structure. It took 11 months of physical labor from our hardworking structural engineers.
Phase Two: Full Speed Ahead
Our team has already replicated several mosaics, but there are 60 – yes, 60 – more to go. This is due largely to the indoor tiles that were used during the original installation in 1980. Not to worry; they are being replaced with durable, frost-resistant porcelain tiles, which are expected to make a big difference in ensuring a restoration built to last.
We’ve got one eye on the clock and one eye on the bank account as we hope to reopen the Dragon in May. See below for more chances to help make this dream a reality:
THE HOME STRETCH: HOW TO HELP NOW
Fundraising goal: $200,000
Amount raised: $150,000 (Thank YOU!)
Amount needed: $50,000 for mosaic tile restoration
Please consider a gift to fund:
$12 1 sq. ft. of tile
$48 4 sq. ft. of tile for one medium mosaic
$125 Restore one small mosaic (14” x 11”)
$250 Restore one medium mosaic (2.5’ x 2’)
$500 Restore one large mosaic (3’ x 4’)
Together let’s #SaveOurDragon! Thank you for your continuing support.
To give, done to this GoFundMe page or send a check payable to Save Our Dragon to HWEN, P.O. Box 120521, Nashville, TN 37212.
Here’s the math:
$2,500 (outright from BHN) + $2,500 (in community donations) + $2,500 (BHN match) = $7,500 toward the Dragon
You can donate right here on the Save Our Dragon GoFundMe page. Please hurry! BHN is sponsoring this challenge match between now and Sept. 30 only. Giving today will make sure you double your impact.
From SaveOurDragon Chair Jan Bushing: Many mosaic artists have given their time and expertise to examine the problems. It was determined that the problems were more than those seen on the mosaic surface. Hence, the restoration should be in two phases: Remedy the internal structural problems. Restore the mosaic art where possible and replace bare areas with new mosaics. Nashville's own Ross Bryan Associates, a premier structural engineering consulting firm, are analyzing the root causes for the major cracking and concrete deterioration. The Dragon is unique and they are developing a process to solve the structural problems without harming the mosaic art. Tony Silva, son of the Dragon's creator, Pedro Silva, has agreed to come to Nashville to restore the mosaics with the help of community volunteers when the structural problems are resolved. Tony assisted his father in the restoration of his father's mosaic art surrounding Grant's Tomb in New York.
The siblings of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital are beneficiaries of this park! While they stay at Ronald McDonald House as their brother or sister gets cancer treatment, or a new heart, parents need a place to get away with the unaffected sibling. To feel normal... to feel free and refreshed outside of the sterile environment at Vanderbilt Children's. This is their getaway! Please help save the park!
We had a chance to recently visit this park and see the current status. Looks like progress is being made. We made a video to show the current state. We plan to share this around to help increase interest in the refurbishment of the dragon. Feel free to share also. We will check back in later to see any progress. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKEjTAwdzLM&feature=youtu.be
Better yet...Sam, get the professionals to manage the structure and we tear the thing out TOGETHER and then as a community get to rebuild it TOGETHER. I'd love to come harvest my tiles and work beside school kids and the elderly to make something special for us again...for today, rejuvenated from the past - materials and inspirations. I assure you my mosaic won't be much better than the first :-)
I have a mosaic on the third bench of the dragon that I was allowed to set there for free. I'm with Sam Welch...let's get the help for free and come do it ourselves! Call Sam at 615-775-4551
What about a fund raising event where school kids can bring pennies , have a cute slogan . Start with the neighborhood schools and then branch out. I would volunteer to help with that type project.
Since these are gifts to a 501(c)3 organization, are they tax deductible?
From SaveOurDragon Chair Jan Bushing in response to Chris Maynard's question below: There was only $25,000 budgeted for all of Fannie Mae Dees Park for the fiscal year. This funding is insufficient to cover repairs needed for the Dragon. We are hoping additional funds can be placed in the budget, but that is not a certainty. The repairs need to be started before we have another winter with rain, snow and freezing temperatures. If not, the problems will be even greater.
out of curiosity, why is this not something the parks department is looking after? i feel like there should probably be funding for this sort of thing without needing a gofundme account
Part of the wonder for me and many of my classmates is that we took part in adding mosaic tiles to the dragon when we were at Eakin. I hope the restoration effort will allow for this type of inclusive activity for another generation of children and those of us who are still young at heart.
Hi I'm a sculpture conservator originally from Nashville, but currently in NYC. I'd love to have a reason to move home and use my expertise to assist with this magical place from my childhood.