Ben Pierce, Reach, Cradle of Country Music Park, Knoxville, June 2021
Last year, the early spring delivery of sculptures to Krutch Park as part of the Art in Public Places program was delayed due to complications resulting from the pandemic. Dogwood Arts Director Sherry Jenkins told me earlier this spring that one of the learning points in the pandemic was that the sculptures deserved their own moment in the sun (I really didn’t mean to do that) out of the shadow of the many other spring events.
Over the last two weeks, the latest sculptures were placed in Krutch Park and Cradle of Country Music Park, along with other outside of downtown locations. The winning sculptures were selected by sculptor John Douglas Powers from applications across the country. The majority of those placed in downtown are pictured here, though I think I left a couple of surprises for you to discover.
The Art in Public Places program, began in 2007 by Eddie Mannis and Bart Watkins, has placed over 240 works of art in the area in the subsequent years. In addition to downtown locations, sculptures are placed in locations ranging from McGhee Tyson Airport to ORNL in Oak Ridge and Zoo Knoxville, as we as others.
The scene this year was quite different from that last year when I took the photographs. Last year, with much of the city unprepared to venture out, Krutch Park was quiet. This year the sculptures were already attracting attention as I photographed them, with lots of selfies and family photos. I took cell phone photos for a couple of groups as I walked through. As with much of downtown, the sculpture exhibition is alive and humming.
I’d encourage you to get out and see the sculptures in person. My photographs don’t do them justice and they are best experienced in person. That said, do you have favorites? If you’d like to learn more about the sculptures and sculptors, head over to the Dogwood Arts website where you’ll also find links to each of the artist’s websites.