A! Magazine for the Arts

Possible sites for public art in downtown Kingsport.  See close-up of map below.

Possible sites for public art in downtown Kingsport. See close-up of map below.

Kingsport Public Art Committee Outlines Strategic Initiatives

January 13, 2007

The Public Art Committee of the City of Kingsport is pleased to present an outline of strategic initiatives to bring Public Art to the Kingsport community.

July 1, 2006 an ordinance adopted by the City of Kingsport's Board of Mayor and Aldermen established a Public Art Committee appointed by the BMA as well as a funding mechanism or "Percent for Art." Appointed to the Public Art Committee are T. Arthur Scott, Jr, chairman, Roy Harmon, vice-chairman; Bobbie Gill, Ann Vachon, Keener Mallicote, Mary Banks,Chris Campbell, Lewis Bausell, Judy Smith and Alan Davis. According to the ordinance, "Public Art in the City of Kingsport may be funded from the Capital Improvement Plan Contingency Fund. The Public Art Reserve Fund may receive up to one percent (1%) not to exceed $25,000 dollars of eligible Capital Improvement Projects, provided there are sufficient funds in the contingency when the project is closed out. The committee has been meeting regularly since its appointment and on August 15 presented a Public Art Policy to the BMA which was adopted by resolution. Since then the Committee has begun an inventory of current public art owned by the City of Kingsport and has outlined the following strategic initiatives...

I. Acquire/commission permanent public art for the City of Kingsport as funds from the "Percent for Art" become available.

The first such project of the Public Art Committee will be the installation of a mural adjacent to the just completed Riverview Splashpad. Artist Kathy Blair has completed a color rendering of the murals that will be painted on all four sides of the Riverview bath house. The mural adopts the safari themed Splashpad and will add tremendously to the overall look of the area. Recent completion of the VO Dobbins elevator capital improvement project has generated $1,500 for public art in this area. Completion of the Splashpad should generate $3,000, barring unforeseen circumstances. The actual cost of the mural as depicted will cost $6,000 and donations from businesses or the public
are encouraged to execute the plan as depicted. The Arts Council of Greater Kingsport will accept donations for the Splashpad Mural. Simply note the "Splashpad Mural" on your check and mail to 1200 East Center Street, Kingsport, TN 37660.

II. Encourage and Enable "Art in Public Places."

The City of Kingsport has several public places suitable for the display and exhibition of art. The Public Art Committee will encourage and were possible, enable art to be displayed in these public venues. The Atrium at the Renaissance Center is a prime candidate for this effort of the Public Art Committee. Recently a $1,500 rail system has been installed that will enable the safe and flexible display of art from a variety of sources. The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded the Kingsport's Cultural Arts Division a grant to provide traveling art exhibits in this area as well as provide a venue for local artists. Currently "Recycled Art" is on display in the 2nd floor atrium, featuring creations by self-taught welder Erik Bennett. These whimsical and creative sculptures erupt from the artist's imagination and transform industrial and garden steel into a wide variety of animals, birds and people with a variety of personalities.

In December 2006 a new venue for art was created at Kingsport's City Hall. Espie Woods and the Symphony of the Mountains "Art in the Lobby" program will present visual artists of the region at Kingsport's City Hall in addition to the lobby of the Eastman Employee Center on the night of the Symphony's concerts. Erik Bennett, Lisa Blankenship Boardwine, Leslie Davis, Carrie A. Dyer, Anne Gurney Thwaites are all artists with work on display.

III. Art and Sculpture Walk Exhibition.

In order to provide greater access to public art and outdoor sculpture the Kingsport Public Art Committee with the assistance of the Arts Council of Greater Kingsport will conduct an Art and Sculpture Exhibition in June 2007. Currently the Public Art Committee is soliciting sponsors for up to 10 different sculptures that will be placed in the downtown Kingsport area.

The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded the Cultural Arts Division a grant of $2,373 to help fund the Art and Sculpture Walk. Sponsorships for up to 10 individual sculpture pieces are available. Individuals or small businesses wishing to contribute to this effort are also encouraged to send donations as well and will be listed in the Sculpture
Walk program guide.

The Exhibition will be a curated event and include artists from throughout the southeast. The pieces of art should have been completed within the last three years and may vary in size, shape and medium. Maps of the Sculpture Walk and photos of the display sites are available at www.KingsportARTS.org. Selected sculpture pieces will be announced in April 2007 and installed in June 2007 with a gala celebration. The sculpture pieces will remain in the downtown area for a less than one year.

Volunteer guides will conduct tours of the exhibit throughout the summer and programs with artist information and self-guided tours will be available in downtown locations. Send donations to Arts Council of Greater Kingsport, 1200 East Center Street, Kingsport, TN 37660 and clearly mark checks with "Sculpture Walk." For more information call 423-392-8416.