Aaron Hussey, Bonsai Portal, Stainless Steel, 10' Tall, Krutch Park, Knoxville, March 2018
Each year around this time new outdoor sculptures arrive in Knoxville and most of the older ones disappear. It’s a rotating exhibition mounted by Dogwood Arts and Art in Public Places. The effort is headed by Kate Creason with a number of sponsors lending support. Justin Rabideau, Director of the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University is the 2018 Juror. You might have missed them being loaded this past weekend in the rain during Big Ears.
Our family has enjoyed the sculptures tremendously since moving to downtown Knoxville in 2009. It’s fun to show them to young children and get them to tell you about the sculpture. They add a touch to Krutch Park which would feel very different without them. It’s a layer of interest that complements the natural beauty of the space.
Not all of this year’s sculptures are in place, with a couple to be added in coming days. Notably, one of the most prominent spots downtown – Country Music Park – doesn’t have what is typically the signature piece of the exhibition. I’m told it will be in place very soon. The sculpture planned for that spot is “Towards Tomorrow,” by Tommy Riefe, seen here in a photograph from his website.
I’ve photographed several others from Krutch Park, but sculptures from the program are also placed at ORNL locations in Oak Ridge, Bearden and Northshore, at Zoo Knoxville, UTK Garden and the Knoxville Airport. Be sure to watch for them when you are in those locations.
Some of the sculptures are obviously intended to be whimsical while others are more provocative. Sometimes the name of the sculpture offers a small window into the artist’s vision, though not always. Some are beautiful while others aren’t necessarily aspiring to beauty. In any case, they are interesting and worth taking a trip to see.
So, the next time you’re downtown, give yourself a few minutes to stroll through Krutch Park and enjoy the latest addition to our growing collection of outdoor art. Sometimes we need to be tourists in our own town or we miss some of the best parts. Ponder the meanings, argue with a friend over which work is superior, but engage the art and the city and thank Dogwood Arts for yet another contribution to making our city a truly exceptional place to visit or to live.