Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Richard Hunt

Memphis has a treasure Downtown - this sculpture by Richard Hunt titled I Have Been to the Mountaintop. Installed in 1977, it is made of Cor-Ten steel and sits at the corner of Poplar and North Main.

We recently learned that there is a Richard Hunt sculpture in Harlem that is about to go through a conservation process. It is titled Harlem Hybrid and is made of bronze. Here are some images of the sculpture from 1976 and 1987.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Translucent Concrete

I would LOVE to see a public art project using this material:

from Toolmonger:

Forget those glass blocks! Don’t you wish you had a building material with the structural integrity of concrete and the light transmitting ability of glass? Litracon wins major cool points by putting fiber-optic strands in concrete blocks to achieve results like the ones above. Even cooler: Light can travel 20 meters through the fiber optics before losing brightness.

A Hungarian architect invented Litracon — short for “light-transmitting-concrete” — in 2001, and he started his own Budapest-based company in 2004. The material is slowly catching on, and it was even considered as one of the materials for the Freedom Tower in New York. You can see some incredible pictures on their website.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to develop plans for my glowing underground bunker.

Translucent Concrete [Litracon]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

See Public Art in Action!

Temporary Public Art Project Installed While You Watch!

Artist Anthony Lee is adorning the wall adjacent to Central Station on the west side of South Main with 25 painted symbols from contemporary life. Anthony is working with volunteers from the CODA Program at Rhodes College to paint the symbols on the 700-foot concrete wall. The painting has begun and will be underway during the South Main Trolley Tour on Friday, January 25.

Anthony’s project, Modern Hieroglyphs, is the first of the 10 Temporary Public Art Projects to be installed as part of UrbanArt's Interactions/Interruptions: 10 Years of Public Art in Memphis.

For more information about the 10th Anniversary, visit our website.

(I "borrowed" this picture from Weeden Arts Watch - thanks, John!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Project by Dan Corson

This is a new project in West Hollywood, CA, by artist Dan Corson. Dan is one of the artists creating a temporary public art project for our 10th Anniversary.

Gallery Talk Tonight

Please join us tonight for

Gallery Talk
Wednesday, January 23, 6:00 PM
Exhibit January 2-30

Memphis College of Art
1930 Poplar Avenue Overton Park

Artists Kristi Duckworth, Mark Nowell and Vitus Shell will be on hand to discuss their projects. Kristi Duckworth's full scale drawing for the Tree of Life mosaic at the Cancer Survivors Park is displayed in the exhibit. Also on display is a scale model of Mark Nowell's sculpture Aspire, which was just installed at Brewster Elementary in November of 2007. In 2004, Vitus Shell completed murals for the Orange Mound Community Center, and has a small sample mural background in the exhibit, as well as a DVD showing his experiences with the Orange Mound community.

The artists will each talk briefly about their projects and their creative process, followed by plenty of time for questions and answers about these and the other 21 projects on display.

Find out more about our 10th Anniversary here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Temporary Public Art Announced in NYC

from the Gothamist:

Details have emerged on the ambitious, $15 million East River waterfalls project coming to New York in mid-July to cap off the Olafur Eliasson retrospective at MoMa. The project will consist of four man-made waterfalls, ranging 90 to 120-foot tall, installed temporarily at four sites along the shores of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Governors Island: by the Brooklyn anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge, between Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn, in Lower Manhattan at Pier 35, and on the north shore of Governors Island. The waterworks will flow from 7am to 10pm seven days a week, will be lit after sunset, and operate from July to October.

Anticipating a backlash from environmentalists, the city was quick to promise that the project will not harm any aquatic life in the East River. Fish like Blinky and other life forms will be protected by filtering the water through intake pools suspended in the river. A lawyer for the environmental group Riverkeeper tells the Sun that after consulting with the city, he's persuaded that the project will be fish friendly: “The amount of water being withdrawn is fairly minimal, and even considering the low levels of withdrawal, they've taken a fairly aggressive approach to mitigate the impact.”


To be energy efficient, project organizers have pledged to use pumps powered by the East River’s tidal water current and utilize low-impact lighting such as the LEDs used for the new New Year’s Ever ball. They’ll also tithe the guilt away by buying carbon offsets to neutralize the project's emissions.

The waterfalls are being financed privately and implemented by The Public Art Fund but, judging from the revenue brought in by The Gates, the Mayor’s office is guesstimating $55 million in economic benefit for the city. Mayor Bloomberg said, "These waterfalls will be just as awe-inspiring as any found in nature. They really must be seen to be believed."

There is much debate in the Gothamist comments - mostly about tax-payer dollars going towards this project, which they aren't: it is privately funded - but also about possible better ways to use $15 million. Considering that Christo & Jeanne-Claude's Gates generated $254 million in economic activity, including generating tax revenue, I don't see much to complain about. Instead of private donors spending $15 million for things taxes should be paying for (commenters on Gothamist cite public schools) (also, how do you even do that? "Here, City, have $15 million and spend it on getting art classes in public schools!"), the Public Art Fund is using funds that they raised privately to bring a world-renowned artist to New York to create a site-specific work that people from all over the world will want to come see and while they are there they will stay in hotels and take cabs and buy coffee and hot dogs and t-shirts. I am booking my trip now!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Don't Forget to Apply to the Brooks Bike Rack Project!

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art call to artists.
design a bike rack!

project schedule
Design submissions must be turned in on or before January 22, 2008
Project to be installed by April 1, 2008

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is commissioning an artist-designed
bike rack. The museum is committed to being a green organization through
the conservation of resources, community education, and a reduced
environmental footprint. The primary goal of this project is to promote
energy conservation by encouraging visitors to bike to the museum. A
panel of bicyclists and art professionals will review the designs. Jurors
are looking for a creative approach to the project that takes into account
aesthetics and the museum’s site within Overton Park.

This project is open to all residents of Shelby County.

The $5,000 project budget includes a $1,000 design fee and $4,000 to
cover all materials, transportation, and installation.

design specifications
While aesthetics are an important consideration, applicants should be
sure that the purpose of the bike rack is self-evident, that it is easy to
use, and that it fulfills the following criteria:
  • The rack should hold from 4 to 6 bikes. It should be no longer than
  • 10 feet in length.
  • Materials used should be weather-resistant, durable, and easy to
  • maintain, and should not damage the bicycles.
  • The materials and design should not be hazardous to the safety of
  • pedestrians.
  • The bike frame and one tire of each bicycle should be able to be
  • secured to the rack.
  • The rack should function for a wide variety of bicycle sizes.
  • The rack should blend in aesthetically with the surroundings.
  • The rack will be installed in a concrete base.
application procedures
Please submit:
  • Resume
  • Artist statement
  • A one-page written proposal of the project concept. Please include
  • project budget
  • A sketch or some type of visual representation of your design.
  • Include a key if necessary
  • 10-15 images of past work. These must be sent in one of the forms
  • listed below. Please label your work with your name
  • Slides placed in a plastic slide sheet
  • CD of digital images in JPEG format, 1920 pixels maximum on
  • the longest side, 72 dpi, with compression settings resulting in
  • the best image quality under 2MB file size
  • CD of PowerPoint presentation (no text, please)
  • Numbered image identification sheet, stating the title, medium,
  • date completed, project budget, and dimensions of the artwork
  • Self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage for the
  • return of slides, etc
selection process
Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of art professionals
and bicyclists.

submission of materials
Marina Pacini
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
1934 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104

Questions? Please email

Artist Opportunity in Nashville

Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority
Nashville, TN

DEADLINE: February 1, 2008, 4:30 p.m. CST

BUDGETS: Ticketing Lobby Artwork - $250,000, Security Checkpoint Glass Wall - $125,000

The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority and Arts at the Airport seek artists for two large-scale public art projects at Nashville International Airport. The two projects are open to professional visual artists in the United States. The complete Call to Artists RFQ including site maps and images is available on the Nashville International Airport website: The Direct link to the RFQ is:
Artists must comply with the submittal requirements described in the Request for Qualifications to be considered.

Monday, January 14, 2008

2 Public Art Opportunities at Texas Tech University Campuses

For Public Art on the HSC Amarillo Campus for Texas Tech University.
Click here.

For Public Art on Various Projects on the Lubbock Campus of TTU.
Click here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

10th Anniversary Exhibit

Friday, January 11, hundreds of artists, art supporters, and current and former board members and staff members gathered at the Memphis College of Art to view the UrbanArt Commission's 10th Anniversary Exhibit. On view through January 30 are work products created by artists, ranging from colored pencil drawings to 65% steel scale models, for 24 projects that UrbanArt has completed over the last 10 years, and 1 project to be completed in 2008.

It was great to see old and new friends and to let people know what we have been up to for the last decade. We are grateful to everyone who came by and showed their support for public art in Memphis.

Unfortunately due to the timing of the exhibit, which was installed over two days the week before Christmas and coincided with Carissa Hussong's last day, and was followed by preparing for the office to be closed for 6 days and beginning the new year with an Interim Director, we did not inform one artist whose work did not make it into the show due to space concerns, and we deeply regret the error and any distress it may have caused. UrbanArt is one of few advocates for visual artists in Memphis, and we are not interested in alienating any of our constituents.

Please continue to visit this blog and our website,, and join our mailing list to get updates on upcoming 10th Anniversary projects and events. We hope you'll join us for the gallery talk for the exhibit at Memphis College of Art on Wednesday, January 23, at 6:00 PM. Artists Krisi Duckworth, Mark Nowell and Vitus Shell will be speaking about their projects.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You Are Invited!

Ten Years of Public Art in Memphis

Friday, January 11, 2008
6-8:00 PM
Memphis College of Art

1930 Poplar Avenue
Overton Park

Please join us for the reception for our 10th anniversary exhibit.
For more info about our 10th anniversary, please click here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2007 Recap

Welcome back! Now that we are in 2008, let's look back at a few mileposts from 2007:

We started the new year with a flood in our office. Learned that backing up your computer really does give you peace of mind, and that quite a few people worried that we packed up and moved without telling anyone.

Held a public art panel discussion and a lecture from visiting artist Tom Otterness in April, thanks to an ABC Grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, administered through ArtsMemphis.

The Links at Riverside opened in May, featuring a gate designed and built by Jim Wallace.

Mel Spillman, former Project Manager, left the UAC to teach art at Cordova Middle School. Toneyce Green joined us as Administrative Assistant, and Laura Caroline Johnson joined us as Project Coordinator.

Carissa Hussong announced that she would be leaving the UAC to head up the Metal Museum, and the UAC began a search for a new Executive Director.

The Cancer Survivors Park was completed, with artwork by Yvonne Bobo and Kristi Duckworth.

Mark Nowell installed the sculpture Aspire at Brewster Elementary.

The UAC hosted three artist feedback sessions. They were held to help us get a better understanding of what we can do to encourage the artists in our community become more involved with our projects. Art parties, annual art shows, and more artist workshops were just a few of the topics that were discussed.

We ended the year by both looking back at our 10 year history, and beginning a new chapter for the UAC. On Carissa's last day, we installed an exhibit at MCA: Interactions/Interruptions, which celebrates our last 10 years while kicking off our 10th anniversary celebration that will culminate in March with 10 temporary public art projects.