GPAC's artsy influence is still going strong

Posted 3/11/18

For more than five years now, a subcommittee of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway has quietly become a catalyst for change and culture along our 4.4-mile linear path. This active group of …

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GPAC's artsy influence is still going strong

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For more than five years now, a subcommittee of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway has quietly become a catalyst for change and culture along our 4.4-mile linear path.

This active group of volunteers is the Greenway Public Arts Committee, affectionately known as GPAC.

Before launching GPAC, Greenway Vice Chairman Bill Estes and I met with a representative of Chattanooga Public Arts who gave us some worthwhile advice about beginning a similar organization for the Greenway. The first task was to find a dedicated leader.

That leader became Tara Brown who agreed to take on the challenge of a targeted arts program focused on placing art and creating art along the Greenway.  Since then, several community volunteers have climbed on board with Tara, and GPAC has made some significant contributions that have not only affected the culture of the Greenway, but our city and county overall.

GPAC’s most significant calling card is the “big yellow chair” located in Greenway Park. Named “Sitting Tall,” securing the art piece for the Greenway was the group’s first big project and it happened through a campaign called “Save the Chair.” GPAC raised $5,000 to purchase the metal structure, and make it a permanent part of the Greenway.

 GPAC’s primary goal has been to place similar art pieces — large, sturdy and interactive — at mile markers along the way.

A second mile marker is exactly one mile south of Sitting Tall and is titled “Infinite Angles.” It, too, was secured for the Greenway through the efforts of GPAC. Two more “mile marker” sites have been identified and include locations in Tinsley Park and the Mohawk Drive trailhead.

 A few months ago a second bridge underpass mural was commissioned, and GPAC took the lead there as well. One has existed under 20th Street, and now 17th Street boasts a Tennessee flag mural depiction titled, “16th State, 17th Street.”

 Much of the funds enabling GPAC to function through the years came from their sponsorship of the popular “Chalk the Walk” held at Greenway Park. After five years, the event will be taking a hiatus this year.

 An exciting project that will soon be unveiled by GPAC is the placement of three life-sized statues that will enhance the new dog park located on the Greenway in Tinsley Park. Thanks largely to the efforts of GPAC Committee member Glo Ghegan, the three likenesses of two greyhounds and a terrier will grace the entrances to the large-dog and small-dog section entrances respectively. The bronze likenesses are sure to become the subjects of many selfie photos, as people enjoy the park and Greenway. 

GPAC has a few more items in the hopper as they seek ways to blend artistry with the outdoor connectivity of the Greenway. They are discussing ways to involve local creatives, and even promote trail safety and etiquette.

If you have an idea for an art project along our Greenway, email info@cbcgreenway.com or visit our Facebook page at “The Greenway.”

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