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First Anniversary Celebration at Chattanooga’s Sculpture Fields

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – It’s a day of family fun on the Southside on April 8th, when Sculpture Fields celebrates its first anniversary. You’ll see the installation of a monumental 70-foot steel sculpture by internationally known sculptor John Henry, enjoy the melodies of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s wind ensemble, picnic from fun food trucks and a beer tent, experience artists creating their paintings and drawings outdoors, and finish off the day with witnessing the awe-inspiring sculpture burn of a 30-foot wooden structure by artist Andrew Nigh when he sets his creation ablaze.

The 33-acre Sculpture Fields is the largest and most recognized park in the Southeast and has become the newest gem in Chattanooga’s burgeoning arts scene.
Event admission and parking are free. Sculpture Fields is located at 1800 Polk St., which turns off of Main Street. For additional information about Sculpture Fields’ First Anniversary Celebration or for general information: www.sculpturefields.org or call 423-266-7288 or clifford@sculpturefields.org.

April 8the, 2017 Schedule of events:

9 a.m. – Installation of John Henry’s 70-ft.-high steel sculpture “Publisher” (will be the tallest sculpture in the park to date) begins, and construction of sculptor Andrew Nigh’s 30-ft. high wooden sculpture continues in preparation for the evening sculpture burn.
2-4 p.m. – CSO wind ensemble
4-6 p.m. – Jazz band Charlie the Head
6-8 p.m. – Blues band Rick Rushing and Ryan Oyer
Sunset – 9 p.m. – Andrew Nigh sculpture burn
Food and beverage trucks, as well as a beer tent, will be available all day.

“This isn’t just another art park; this is about enhancing culture, tourism, recreation, education and economic development with a Chattanooga city park contributing to the revitalization of the Southside,” said internationally known sculptor John Henry who is the founding board member of the non-profit Sculpture Fields. “Sculpture parks in America draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to their home cities. Chattanooga’s reputation is enhanced by our park.”

About John Henry:
John Henry is known worldwide for his large-scale public works of art, which grace numerous museum, corporate, public and private collections. His works are prominently exhibited in many American cities and states as well as throughout Europe and Asia. His work exhibits a definitive trademark style, recognized internationally. His works range in scale from small tabletop pieces to some of the largest contemporary metal sculptures in the world. John has a supreme commitment to the materiality of his work and an unwavering insistence on maintaining the integrity of the process and the materials in developing his visual vocabulary. John is the founder of Sculpture Fields in Chattanooga.

About Andrew Nigh:
Sculptor and woodworker Andrew Nigh is well known for his dramatic sculpture burns. He designs the “burn dynamics” to control how the sculpture decomposes. He constructs large effigies for burns like Alchemy, Euphoria, and Transformus. A Tennessee-based burn called Serendipity received official sanctioning from Burning Man, the largest and most famous burn. More than just a bonfire, a true burn represents what it means to be a human with no boundaries. And, in accordance with the 10 principles, participants leave no trace of their activity.

About Sculpture Fields:
Sculpture Fields is helping transform the Southside and is making a noticeable difference in the entire community. The 33-acre international sculpture park includes 32 monumental-scale contemporary sculptures, 1.5 miles of walking paths and 100 trees in its Commemorative Forest. The park also hosts school tours and weekend events such as artist demonstrations, yoga, kite flying demonstrations, music and dance performances.

Sculpture Fields is also home to “Anchors,” the 100-ton, 65-foot tall sculpture that towers above Sculpture Fields and honors the fallen service members who gave their lives in the line of duty in the terrorist attack in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015. Made from concrete and 10,000 feet of steel rebar, the sculpture, which began its journey in Chattanooga soil, also encases five anchors representing the service members from the Marines and Navy. It is Peter Lundberg’s tallest sculpture to date.

In 2017, the park plans to:

  • Add 14 new monumental-sized contemporary sculptures by internationally known artists
  • Expand its education programming outreach for Hamilton County students
  • Host a Fall Festival – “Sculpture in the Sky,” which will feature large-scale kites, storytelling and bikes
  • Host its very popular annual dinner train fundraiser aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad’s vintage museum train, which boards at Sculpture Fields and the whistle stop studios and home of John and Pamela Henry

History of Sculpture Fields:

In 1911 the Montague family donated a large parcel of land in a pristine condition to the City of Chattanooga with the intent of offering a public park to the local community. Beginning in the 1940’s this land was used as a construction landfill and later capped, after which, the park was utilized for recreational activities including: motocross, kite competitions and softball tournaments.

In 2003, the park was closed when garbage and methane leaks began to surface and state regulators determined the land to be unsafe. The City of Chattanooga worked with Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC) to restore the land. In a letter received by the City of Chattanooga in December 2013, TDEC confirmed that the park had been restored, capped sufficiently and was ready to re-open to the public.

Since 2012, Sculpture Fields has formed an engaged and active Board of Directors, been approved for 501(c)(3) non-profit status, obtained a 40-year lease with the City of Chattanooga and worked closely with the City and AD Engineering on planning and developing a 33-acre international sculpture park.

Sculpture Fields officially opened on April 8, 2016, to welcome over 2,700 visitors for the grand opening weekend. On this historic weekend the community celebrated the re-opening of Montague Park with 27 large-scale sculptures on site and 15 of the featured artists on hand to discuss their work.

Since the opening, Sculpture Fields has increased the number of large-scale sculptures on site to 32, including an Albert Paley sculpture previously exhibited on Park Avenue in New York City. As the new year begins, there are plans to bring 15 additional pieces back to the park from an exhibit in Quebec. Educational programs will continue to be developed for Hamilton County students and the landscape is taking shape as we work toward creating an arboretum.

Sculpture Fields Programs and Events Committee has established a strong partnership with the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts in developing curriculum-based material to be used by Hamilton County students on guided class tours of the park. Sculpture Fields also has partnered with Public Art of Chattanooga on the Blue Tree Project.

Mission Statement – To create and maintain a sculpture park in Chattanooga, Tennessee of the highest quality, international scope and of lasting value and benefit to the City and the region. To establish programming to benefit the local and regional arts establishment, as well as the education community at all levels and the citizenry at large.

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