Boy Scout Catfish – Nashville, Tennessee - Atlas Obscura

Nashville, Tennessee

Boy Scout Catfish

This quirky local sculpture is quite literally a fish out of water. 

When exploring Nashville, it’s best to be prepared for some unusual public artwork, not least of which is a catfish statue wearing full boy scout attire, including green pants, a merit badge sash, and a campaign hat.

In 2003, the “Catfish Out of Water” project was launched to benefit the Cumberland River Compact, Greenways for Nashville, and Parthenon Patrons Foundations. The program entailed roughly 50 catfish sculptures decorated by local artists, which were then auctioned off to raise funds.

While most of these creatively re-imagined creatures have found their way downstream and into private settings, the boy scout catfish (which is actually titled “Be Prepared”) has found a permanent home on the corner of Hillsboro Pike in front of the Boy Scout Headquarters of the Middle Tennessee Council.The sculpture may seem like a small fish in a big pond, so to speak, but he’s not alone. You can find other catfish sculptures in front yards, office buildings and public spaces such as the airport, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and Centennial Park.

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Other similar artwork fundraising campaigns in the city have included series of playfully designed bike racks (such as a microphone, a whisk, and a soundboard slider) and as well as various guitars. 

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