Tentatively named the Greenway Public Art Committee, or GPAC, the future group will be charged with researching, managing and recommending ways to increase public awareness about public art, specifically as part of the Greenway experience. This awareness may come in the form of events or placement of interactive, functional or recreational art.
Establishment of GPAC comes at a time when the Greenway has just been completed for four unbroken miles. Patrons who may have limited their Greenway experience to Raider Drive southward are discovering pockets of beauty along the former Tinsley Park trail and northward beyond Tinsley to Mohawk Drive.
These “pockets” are opportunities to showcase the landscape through the placement of benches or other entities, which could include sculptures or pieces of public art.
Chattanooga has done a marvelous job of incorporating public art, particularly near the Hunter Museum and the surrounding area. If you have eaten at the restaurants near the Tennessee Aquarium, you have no doubt seen — and maybe sat in — the large, brick chair structures that adorn the sidewalks. At the south end of the Walnut Street bridge, you may have interacted with the life-sized dog sculpture with his paw out to high-five passersby. Head toward the aquarium from there and you encounter numerous other public art projects, which all bear the wear-and-tear of people touching and interacting with the pieces.
This coming week our Greenway will get its first piece of public art. It is not new, but may not have been seen by a majority of Cleveland and Bradley County. It has been previously on display outside the Museum Center and the Old Woolen Mill and it is called “Sitting Tall.” Local artist Joshua Coleman created the piece, which is an oversized yellow lawn chair. At the request of the Greenway board, it will be placed this week by Coleman near the Raider Drive entrance to the Greenway as the first act of the GPAC.
The community is invited to discover and experience “Sitting Tall” by admiring it, climbing it and having your picture taken on it. It is the first of what is hoped to be many more offerings coordinated through GPAC.
Where the new public art committee goes from here is yet to be seen. The committee is not yet complete, but will include community advocates and artists who are passionate about creating ways to increase the Greenway experience through public art. It will be exciting to see what develops over the next several months.
If you have suggestions or comments for GPAC or the Greenway board, email firstname.lastname@example.org.