Sitting at the edge of Rutherford County, between Smyrna and Antioch in Davidson County, LaVergne is often thought of as more an industrial park than a city. Always struggling to stand separate from both Smyrna and Murfreesboro, Jason Cole, the Mayor of LaVergne, and the Aldermen have been working with local businesses and community members to change all that. Using all facets of the arts, they are working to build a stronger sense of community.
One of the ways that the city is creating a sense of place is by the creation of murals. Recently artist Brian Tull painted a mural for the ICEE company on their water tower at their corporate headquarters on Mason Road. The city is working on more murals and has started a LaVergne Arts and Beautification Commission. Their goal is to increase visibility of the city.
The LaVergne Farmer’s Market is another way the city is creating community and also investing in the arts. Occurring every Saturday through September 11, 2021, this market offers fresh produce, as well as gardening supplies, handmade soaps, and some fine crafts. It has been bringing the locals together for the last six years. “Creating a successful, beautiful garden is certainly an art,” said Cole.
LaVergne Library, however, is the biggest community connector, and COVID-19 didn’t stop them from providing books and all sorts of creative activities to those who live in the City of LaVergne during the past year. An independent library, separate from the Rutherford County Library System, Library Director Donna Bebout and her creative staff came up with the idea of “Take and Make Kits” to make up for the fact that their crafting days were not possible in person. The kits were a huge hit.
Other things the library does to bring families together include Chalk Art on the Greenway at Hurricane Creek. They put up shade tents and then give families spaces to stretch out and design art pieces on the blacktop. This year the event took place on July 8.
As the library is reopening, they are bringing back some popular programs, like Thursday night Jammies and Stories. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., kids can come dressed in their jammies to hear a bedtime story, then go home and go right to bed. Pillows, binkies, and favorite stuffed animals are also welcome.
Another creative idea the library staff came up with is the annual Dog, Cat and Duck Race. Kids are assigned a numbered rubber dog duck, cat duck or duck duck to partake in a race down a faux river. Each child is also given a squirt gun to help their rubber float move down to the finish line.
In 2022, the city of Lavergne has plans to create an event that will bring the city more notice. A group of people who loved the old Summer Lights Festival that used to take place in downtown Nashville hope to recreate it in LaVergne. The goal is to spotlight music, food, and the arts.
Everything they are doing is putting a spotlight on the city. “Don’t just come once,” said Mayor Cole, “because those of us in the north remember.”