I’ve had a few photographs tucked away from the Artist Alley Revamp Project which I don’t believe ever made it into earlier posts. A few people came into the project late and others took a long time. I also found that I overlooked some as I passed through the alley. Recently I’ve noticed some of them are fading, which is inevitable out in the elements, so I decided to give you one more little blast of the work done there before spring comes and (hopefully) a new round of art will go up.
For those of you who may have missed my previous posts, this is a grassroots project that took root this past fall with the intention of cleaning up Armstrong/Strong Alley which parallels Gay Street between it and Market Square. You can go to Coffee and Chocolate and find it just about at that corner. The alley had long been the object of large amounts of tagging and sometimes still hosts homeless residents. It has been transformed into a very cool space.
I couldn’t help but include a picture of KUB’s little sign assuring everyone that they love this art project so much they don’t want it to spill over onto their building. It’s really too bad because their building offers great surface space. I should also mention that some of these works weren’t finished when I took the photograph and I’m not sure they ever made it across the finish line. I also wish I knew the names of each of the artists so I could include them here. Perhaps some of you know and can tell us in a comment.
A question on many people’s minds as the project started was whether the art would be defaced by taggers or others. I did see some tagging around that seemed to be fresh and I do think a couple of the paintings were defaced in small ways, but generally, it appears would-be defacers decided to respect what was being attempted.
One of my favorite artists in the project and my new friend is Dominique Thibault. Dominique worked on her piece approximately a million hours. I found her working on cold, bitter days, fighting howling winds with large sheets of plastic and duct tape, working on Thanksgiving Day and working by light at night. Determined to see her vision through, it is both beautiful and intricate. She exemplifies the devotion artist pour into their work when often the likelihood of a significant return is low.
For all the artists who contributed to this project, I want to personally say, “thank you.” You give our city its heart and without you Knoxville would not be the special place it is. I can’t wait to see what you all do next.