by Anne-Leslie Owens, Public Art Project Coordinator
Nashville is honoring its Civil Rights history with a significant public artwork in Public Square Park. This summer, the Metro Arts Commission approved a budget of $300,000 and secured a prominent location beside the historic courthouse for artwork recognizing Nashville’s pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement. Nashville’s non-violent demonstrations—sit-ins, march, and economic boycott—were so effective that they served as models for later protests throughout the South, and Nashville’s leaders went on to make major contributions on the national Civil Rights stage.
Metro Arts considered hundreds of professional artists before inviting six to participate. Of those, four artists/artist teams—Andrews/LaFevre Studios, New York, New York; Colab Studio, Tempe, Arizona; Hood Design Studio, Oakland, California; and Richard Hunt Studio, Chicago, Illinois—accepted the invitation and participated in the December 2–3 site visit. Highlights of the artists’ visit included time at the Nashville Public Library’s Civil Rights Room, a walking and driving tour to Civil Rights sites, and a Q&A with several participants in Civil Rights activities here in Nashville.
Using the information they gathered, the artists will complete design proposals to present to a citizen selection panel. The panel will recommend an artist to the Public Art Committee and the Metro Arts Commission for final approval in spring 2014. The project is expected to be completed in 2015. Following that, Metro Arts will begin the procurement process for a second Civil Rights-inspired public art project on 5th Avenue.
For more information and to view the artists’ previous portfolios of work, please visit www.artsnashville.org.