Bringing Music back to Nashville Flood Victims

It was May 2010, Nashville and Middle Tennessee suffered a historic flood when 13 inches of rain over two days caused many residents to flee their homes and businesses. Some lost everything. The downtown area was the hardest hit.

Among these victims were Nashville Musicians. Soundcheck, located directly off the Cumberland River on Cowen Street, was devastated and many musicians lost equipment and instruments to muddy water that rose 50+ feet, well above the normal levels and even higher than our flood stage. REtune Nashville, a non-profit founded by Nossi instructor Sheri Oneal was one of the many who came to the rescue of these musicians.

Where It Started:

It all started with the donated guitar from Ed Beaver, an acoustic instrument that was water-damaged. Graphic Design Coordinator, Bruce Stanley took the challenge to his Graphic Design II class. Designers: Melissa Bullers, Clarisa Doll, Seth Fentress, DeAndrea Gaines, Marcella Hollowell, Michael Nordstrom, Phylicia Sadler, Max Szczublewski were all committed to the project. Below is the donated piece from ReTune that we started with.

The concept was to transform the guitar into a birdhouse by taking the neck and repositioning it as a perch to the opening in the guitar body. A trip to Home Depot and Pet Smart was next for design assets.

Cutting up art and photos from magazines and using birdseed for design accents came naturally for Nossi’s graphic designers. Etching into the guitar wood, the students had fun carving subtle art elements as a patterned background.




Where It Finished:
Nossi All Access Graphic Design


Giving the piece a Nashville look, the addition of glitzy elements like rhinestones and painted star seemed appropriate. The students gave the birdhouse a name, “Songbird.” Inspiration came from a brand of birdseed and the graphic art found on the seed bag packaging. Using the seed also came in handy to give the Nashville skyline some texture and conceptual depth.






Gallery of Work

Nossi students worked diligently on the design ideas through traditional sketching processes as well and taking into the computer to finish mapping out the design. Here is some images from the students at work. Photos submitted by Nossi College.

In the end, the students learned collaboration and how to make relative design decisions, giving the piece of art a tie to the city of Nashville and the musicians that suffered from the flood. The finished donation made its appearance at the Student Portfolio Review where it was handed off to Sheri O’Neal by Coordinator Bruce Stanley and Nossi herself (from left to right).
Although no longer active, REtune Nashville was developed to provide relief to uninsured musicians in the industry through the sale of artwork created from flood-damaged musical gear.

The proceeds from the sale of artwork are donated to MusiCares, Nashville Food Relief, and the Nashville Musicians Association Flood Relief Fund for distribution to uninsured musicians in the industry. Sheri and her team of volunteers commissioned Nashville artists to create the artwork and REtune donated this damaged guitar for our students to create their very own piece of work which will then go for auction to help in the cause.

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