A walk around downtown Johnson City, TN will reveal splashes of art…. art in various forms of color, a variety of art mediums, and various levels to the viewing eye. Johnson City has spectacular art above the eye level as in the new Johnson City sign. One can find beautiful artistic bridge rails all along the waterway right below eye level at King Commons. At the downtown entrance to Founders Park, below eye level, one can see some amazing artwork on the ground right under your feet! Standing in that spot, looking forward into the park all along the horizon, you will find a plethora of sculptures close up and off in the distance, as far into the park as you can see.
Downtown Johnson City is covered with art on all levels!! If you love metal works, we have it! If you love mixed media art, we have it! If you love nature coupled with the engineering “art” of storm water mitigation and conservation, we have it! If you love the art of music and the live outdoor music at Founders Park or the JC Drum Circle at the pavilion, we have it!! Anyone who loves art should have something to love in downtown Johnson City.
This blog is about the art that one can see at eye level, right in front of you! Murals! Murals have been adding a palate of color to the once monotonous, brick walls of the downtown area.
Downtown murals are located along the walkways by some of the downtown shops, restaurants, coffee shops and music venues, and in King Commons – the latest addition to the collection. This mural is a colorful representation of several themes from Johnson City. This mural, entitled Wildabout displays an artistic reflection of our concern for flood water control, our strong desire for bee pollination and conservation, local plant and animal life, and local architectural landmarks. The artist, Ian Brownlee, was selected from more than 30 applicants to complete this mural.
Many of our locals may have noticed that some downtown framed canvas murals have been removed. These murals, the winning projects from a mural competition during a Blue Plum event several years ago, were on display for a limited time and will be replaced soon. I am very excited to say that the new murals have been completed by high school students and a high school graduate of local schools in the Johnson City area. An invitation was extended to Topper Academy of Science Hill High School, Providence Academy, and an individual resident of Johnson City. All artists eagerly accepted the challenge! (An invitation was also extended to University High; however, they were not able to participate.) Groups were provided a simple idea – create a mural that reflects the heart of downtown Johnson City. On-going communication occurred with all groups and several pictures of progress were shared. The resulting murals are amazing! These teachers and students involved were able to complete their projects before the last day of school!
Watch for an upcoming unveiling of the next eye-level installment of several downtown murals – artwork by our own local residents! I think you will be very pleased! Enjoy!
“Art does not reproduce what we see; rather is makes us see.” – Paul Klee