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About seven years ago, an enlightened group of councilmen, business people and local supporters of the arts began efforts to transform a strip of wasteland along this city's Charlotte Avenue into a public amenity. On Aug. 20, after much community engagement, including "Design Your Neighborhood" workshops for young interns, Nashville's mayor Karl Dean dedicated the revitalized Edmondson Park. The once neglected site is now Nashville's first "art park"—a neatly fenced, tree-studded, undulating field of Bermuda grass with a walking path and a children's area, with a sophisticated "green" water-capture system, that forms a handsome backyard for a row of modest, attractive clapboard houses that bear witness to the city's ambitious urban redevelopment program. As a fitting tribute, during the 60th anniversary of the civil-rights movement, the park is named for William Edmondson (1874-1951), the city's celebrated self-taught sculptor, the son of former slaves, who lived nearby. Edmondson, who said that his carvings of figures and animals were divinely inspired, was the first African-American to have a solo show at New York's Museum of Modern Art, in 1937.

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