Helga Sierra
Helga Sierra

Journal: Stories on Creativity & Adventure

Learn about the artist's process, photo stories, traveling & more. 

Chalk Art Mural: Well Coffeehouse

Concept & Background


From the moment I moved to Nashville, my favorite coffee shop in Nashville has been the Well Coffeehouse. I spent countless hours at many coffee shops, but especially this one during my time at Lipscomb University's graduate school. The fact that it was just across the street made it really appealing for me to be there, all the time. There's great people, great coffee, open windows, they use their profits to impact the lives of others, and carry products from awesome brands who also want to be positive. 

CHALK.  One of the locations has 2 awesome chalk boards outside of its walls. These chalkboard walls were usually a place to find more information about new drinks, specials, other announcements, etc.  To me these walls looked like a giant canvas, ready to be colored in with something beautiful.  So I approached the managers with an idea, and they were on board with it.  The people who work at the Well are passionate about their community and generating a open and creative space for the Nashville community. Everyday people from all walks of life, come in and out, meet and generate ideas, study, work, it's a place I just really like. 


My main goal was to transmit what the Well Coffeehouse does.  Not only do they make great coffee, they use their profits to build wells in other parts of the world where water is not accessible.   Water is such a huge part of my life, it is a huge part of all of our lives.  Every day I take a shower, drink 1 or 2 bottles of water, have some coffee, cereal,sometimes go swimming, do laundry, etc.  All I have to do is open a faucet and there it is, ACCESSIBLE WATER.  The organizations that The Well partners with, build wells in places that need it the most.  In places where people walk hours carrying a plastic container to get water with which they will cook, drink, clean clothes, etc. just for that day.  In 3 years, 9 communities now have wells, because people bought coffee. 

Welcome to the Well. 

So there are many different coffee shops in Nashville, and this one uses the generated profits to keep building wells.  Every time someone buys coffee or another drink or food, not only are they providing jobs for the people who grow the coffee, the baristas who make the coffee drink, but they also help build wells.  Now that's just cool.  

Creative Process


I drew a sketch of what I wanted the mural to be like.  Something fun and inviting.  The cup being representative of the Well and a jug that lets water drop onto a container of a child in one of the locations where the wells have been built.  The lettering draws attention to the different outstanding facts of the impact that has been made in the past. 

The growth of typography in combination with design keeps permeating society, and well I've tried to jump on board.  By combining a drawing with an infographic concept behind it, something cool was born. When it came time to actually putting the chalk on the boards, I couldn't do just a black and white drawing.  Color was important to send a message of hope and change.  

Any city needs murals with positive messages that challenge people to be a part of positive change.  I remember being a part of a mural project in Tegucigalpa hosted by the United Nations.  We partnered with a Nicaraguan artist, and the things I learned 11 years ago, came to play a huge part when creating something for the city of Nashville. 

I've got a new idea in mind for the next one, so be on the look out Nashville. 

Day Time close up of the mural. 

I drew the mural late at night, since the heat and humidity during the day time are almost unbearable.  I knew I had used many colors, but it was so hard for me to see, I was quite surprise once I saw the mural in the day time. 

Detail:  When you buy a cup of coffee, you provide HOPE.

Detail: 1:1500.  1 WELL allows up to 1500 people to have water. 

Summer Drink Recommendations

The next time you're out and about in Nashville, stop by the mural, take a picture by it, tag a friend and @hsierradesigns (on instagram) and let me know how you're making small things to positively impact the world. (use #wherecoffeechangeslives).    Then step inside the Well Coffeehouse, grab some coffee and read a book, hang with a friend, your mom or boss. 

This summer, I would recommend the Islander: a very sweet iced summer drink or the Iced Chai if you're not in to coffee.  Otherwise, I my go-to options are the the Costa Rican and Brazilian brew, they are a little lighter and usually sweeter; I like both of those as hot or cold drinks.