A! Magazine for the Arts

Work by Eric Bennett on display in Renaissance Center Atrium

Work by Eric Bennett on display in Renaissance Center Atrium

Public Art in Kingsport

December 19, 2006

The Public Art Committee of the City of Kingsport is moving forward with strategic initiatives to bring Public Art to the community.

Call for Entries: Art and Sculpture Walk

The Public Art Committee is issuing a call to artists throughout our region for submissions of outdoor sculpture/artwork. Up to 10 pieces will be selected in April and installed in June with a gala celebration. Volunteer guides will conduct walking tours this summer, and programs with artist information and self-guided tours will be available.

The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded the Cultural Arts Division a grant of $2,373 to help fund the Art and Sculpture Walk. The Public Art Committee is currently soliciting sponsors and accepting donations for the selected pieces.

Art in Public Places

Kingsport has several public places suitable for the display and exhibition of art. The atrium at the Renaissance Center is a prime candidate. Recently a $1,500 rail system was installed for the display of art from a variety of sources. The Tennessee Arts Commission has awarded 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 on display in the atrium is "Recycled Art" featuring creations by self-taught welder Eric 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. Also in the atrium are artworks from area school children; the Sullivan County Health Department asked budding artists to interpret the theme "Health Rocks."

New this month is a venue for art at Kingsport's City Hall. The Symphony of the Mountains Art in the Lobby program will feature area artists of the region at City Hall in addition to a display in the lobby of the Eastman Employee Center, where the Symphony often performs. At City Hall this month are the works of four Tri-Cities artists: Lisa Boardwine, Leslie Davis, Carrie A. Dyer and Anne Thwaites.

Percent for Art: First Project

On July 1, 2006, Kingsport's Board of Mayor and Aldermen established a funding mechanism or "Percent for Art for Public Art. 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 first project will be the installation of a mural adjacent to the just completed Riverview Splashpad. Artist Kathy Blair has completed a color rendering of the artwork that will be painted on all four sides of the Riverview bathhouse. The mural adopts the safari-themed Splashpad and will add to the overall look of the area.

Recent completion of the V.O. Dobbins elevator capital improvement project has generated $1,500 for public art in this area. Completion of the Splashpad is expected to generate $3,000. The mural will cost $6,000. Donations from businesses and/or the public are encouraged to execute the plan as depicted. The Arts Council of Greater Kingsport will accept donations for the Splashpad Mural.

For more information about these projects, call 423-392-8416, email macdonald@ci.kingsport.tn.us or visit www.kingsportARTS.org.