by Van Gill Maravalli, Public Art Project Coordinator,
Metro Nashville Arts Commission
One could argue that no other space in Nashville exemplifies the power of community-inspired artwork quite like Edmondson Park. The Gathering—one of three public artworks located within the park—was created by artist Sherri Warner Hunter in 2001 with the help of students and staff from the Oasis Center and dozens of community volunteers. The Gathering consists of four amorphous figures, ranging from two to eight feet tall and covered in brightly colored mosaic tiles. The abstracted forms of the oversized figures act as a seating area and community gathering place within the park.
Oftentimes community art projects allow the community to participate in the final stages of the project only, and volunteers are limited to using one or two rudimentary mediums. However, the volunteers assisting Hunter were treated more like apprentices. Under her careful supervision, volunteers of all ages learned how to cut tile, mix grout, and carefully apply thousands of multi-colored ceramic and glass tiles to the surface of the sculpture.
For ten years The Gathering was located on Music Row in front of the Oasis Center’s former 16th Avenue South building. In 2013, the Oasis Center donated the sculpture to the Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s public art collection. Metro Arts worked with Hunter to restore and relocate The Gathering to Edmondson Park to ensure that the sculpture would be enjoyed for many years to come.
Hunter’s award-winning work is included in numerous private and public collections across the country. She continues to teach workshops at her studio in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and around the country on concrete, mosaics, sculpture, and professional practices for artists.
Edmondson Park is located on Charlotte Avenue between 16th and 17th Avenue North. Visit publicart.nashville.gov for more information.