Decorative Bridge Railings at King Commons – Part I

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The much-anticipated artistic bridge rails have finally been installed on three bridges at King Commons! These beautiful railings were designed and forged by a talented and creative team of artists at the Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. The work was commissioned early in 2017 after a selection committee gathered to review qualifications of more than 40 project applicants. The proposal submitted by Jim Masterson and his colleagues was accepted and the magic began.

The railing designs were largely based on several themes that are interwoven throughout the park at King Commons, which relate to conservation, pollination, and storm water mitigation. The major theme represented by the railings is pollination, as designer Kacy Ganley explains that a portion of the railing design is “emulating the flight of the bee”. Hand forged native flowers add an additional dimension of color and artistic flair to the railing design, with milkweed, iris, and coneflowers included in many of the railing sections.

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The preliminary sketches for the railings reveal four bees in the design, flying across the length of the segment. Native flora is represented in the middle section (this sketch depicts the milkweed flower).

The theme of pollination aligns with the current “What’s the Buzz” program, a partnership between the Johnson City community and East Tennessee State University which focuses on the promotion and development of pollinator-friendly public spaces. Native plants like those included in the railing design are vital to the survival of bees and other pollinators, and are especially important as pollinators are experiencing a decline in numbers due to pesticide use, habitat loss, climate change, and other factors.

The bright blue color of the railings is representative of the network of waterways in the area and the flood mitigation efforts that were undertaken through the construction of King Commons. Ganley tells us that the color also emulates similar shades of blue that were utilized in Ian Brownlee’s mural at King Commons, providing a sense of cohesiveness throughout the artistic elements in the park.

The process leading up to installation was long but rewarding. Fortunately, the Metal Museum kept us posted on progress along the way, allowing us to get an inside peek at the railing’s construction. And their photographs really tell the story!

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Rows of pickets are lined up after forming.
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The railing begins to take shape…do you see the bumblebee?
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A stack of  coneflowers prior to assembly.
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Life-like, feathery iris await their painting job.
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Getting the milkweed flowers just right.
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A fully assembled railing segment showcases the milkweed flower.

We’ll be bringing you more on the railings in our next post along with photos of the completed bridge rails in their permanent locations at King Commons, so check back with us soon!

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Dive in to the “Splash: Fine Art and Craft Showcase Market”!

Splash Ad

Are you scrambling to find those perfect holiday gifts for your family and friends? If so, we might be able to help out! The Splash: Art and Craft Showcase Market will be coming to downtown Johnson City just in time for the holidays. Join us for some light refreshments while you shop for unique gifts made by local artisans.

The market will be held at the old JC Penney building on Dec. 1st – 3rd:

309 E. Main St.

Dec. 1st: 12 – 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 2nd: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Dec. 3rd: 12 – 5 p.m.

JC Penney Building
So…where exactly is the old JC Penney building? It’s located on E. Main St. to the left of the Hands On! Museum.

A wide variety of fine arts and crafts will be available at the market. You are sure to find something to please everyone on your list!

Avigdor Storm Clearing Over the Blur Ridge
Photographer David Avigdor will offer high quality matted prints and framed, matted prints of his stunning photos.
Karlota Contreras-Kotterbay earings
Give beautiful accessories this holiday season – stop by artist Karlota Contreras-Kotterbay’s table and check out her handmade jewelry!
Bee Locke spoonspatula
Look for the BeeSymmetry Pyrography table to find a wide array of high quality and intricately hand-burned items including jewelry, kitchen utensils, keepsake boxes, photo frames, inspirational signs and wall art!
Denise Pritchard 50 Cal pen
Oh the wonders of wood! Artist Denise Pritchard’s turned wood bowls, pens, kitchen items, wood keepsake boxes, jewelry boxes and tables will be available at the market.
cari muse block print textile
Artist Cari Muse specializes in block-printing textiles. You’ll find her work on table runners, cloth napkins, kitchen towels, card sets, t-shirts, and more.
Courtney Farquharson block print
For detailed, hand pulled linoleum block prints, stop by Courtney Farquharson’s table with her exquisite handmade cards and hand-printed notebooks.

These are just a handful of the artists and items that will be available at the Splash market, so make sure to come by and see the rest! All proceeds from this event will go directly to the arts and crafts makers. And a silent auction (shhh!) with artworks from participating artists will take place all weekend with proceeds benefiting Johnson City Public Art (JCPA).

The Splash market is free and open to the public, so stop by and get ready for the holidays!

For more information contact Nancy Fischman at nancyfischman@gmail.com or Sarah Dorr at sarahjdorr@gmail.com