Cradle of Country Music Park
The City is proceeding with its largest single commission of public art to date – a $500,000 interactive sculpture that aims to transform downtown’s passive Cradle of Country Music Park into a dynamic public gathering space.
Mayor Madeline Rogero has proposed and City Council has funded more than $1 million over a half a decade for public art in downtown Knoxville. But the pier-like sculpture with a whimsical curved covering, designed by THEVERYMANY, a New York studio led by artist Marc Fornes, is by far the City’s biggest single investment.
The project would revitalize the 0.58-acre sloped tract at Gay Street and Summit Hill Drive and create an inviting public space that could be used for small concerts or other public events.
The artwork will be roughly half the City’s investment. Fornes’ team will be working side-by-side with a landscape architect to remake the venue. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department will issue a separate Request for Qualifications for a landscape architect or other qualified professional to redesign the park space to complement the artist’s vision, and the combined investment will total about $1 million.
“We’ve been increasing our collection of public art in recent years – both in terms of quantity and quality,” Mayor Rogero said. “The Public Art Committee has done a great job in commissioning a wide variety of intellectually-stimulating murals, sculptures, painted stairs, metal relief and other pieces. And now, this latest project will completely transform a small underused pocket park into a dynamic downtown focal point.”
The Cradle of Country Music Park is highly visible: It’s adjacent to the Knoxville Visitors’ Center and in the middle of the Central Business Improvement District, and more than 14,000 cars pass the park daily. Thousands of people live or work within blocks of the park. It’s strategically located between Gay Street, Market Square and the Old City.
The Public Art Committee selected the concept presented by THEVERYMANY as the best from a field of 129 global applicants.