My Favorite Thing by Travis Emmen, Steel Wire, Krutch Park, Knoxville, June 2022
New sculptures have been introduced to Krutch Park, Emory Place and other spots around the city in the last couple of weeks as part of Dogwood Arts 2022-2023 Art in Public Places Sculpture Exhibition. This year’s exhibition, which includes thirty-one new sculptures curated by glass artist Tommie Rush, grew from just nineteen sculptures last year. Three new spots were added this year: Emory Place in North Knoxville, the Student Union at the University of Tennessee, and the Maker Exchange at World’s Fair Park.
The exhibition includes twenty-seven sculptors from sixteen different states and will be on display for the next twelve months. The Art in Public Places program provides an
annually rotating, outdoor sculpture exhibition and a large-scale mural program . . . Started in 2007 by Eddie Mannis and Bart Watkins, the sculpture program has curated and installed over 260 works of art and gained national recognition as a platform for exhibiting world-class sculptors.
The Art in Public Places program is made possible with support from ORNL Federal Credit Union, the City of Knoxville, Prestige Cleaners, the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Zoo Knoxville, Tennessee Arts Commission, Downtown Knoxville Alliance, Arts & Culture Alliance, Maker Exchange, Center for Student Engagement at the University of Tennessee, and UT Gardens.
The sculptures in Krutch Park have become an important part of downtown, attracting a great amount of attention annually from visitors to the city. Simply watching people interact with the sculptures makes for a fun afternoon in the park. As I took these photos, numerous others looked at, discussed, photographed, and otherwise seemed to enjoy the new pieces.
As for my take, I don’t see how My Favorite Things won’t be a crowd favorite. Additionally, I think Victoria is a powerful work. For me, it is a bit disturbing in ways I can’t yet articulate. And that is a good function for art to serve. When I was in New York last week, I saw a poster that said, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” It made a lot of sense to me.
As mentioned above, this marks the first year sculptures have been placed in Emory Place. The burgeoning art destination now has two sculptures to accompany its two galleries, one permanent and one just installed. An additional sculpture will soon be installed in the area. More development there will support the arts theme for this north-side spot.
When the temperatures dip below a million degrees, get outside and check out the new sculptures. Or just sit and watch the others react. It’s great fun.