Shelby Park public art project wins national award

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission recently announced that ‘Reflection,’ a public artwork by artist Lawrence Argent in Shelby Park, has been selected as one of the top 50 public art projects by Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network’s Year in Review.

Argent’s stainless steel and granite creation is located in historic Shelby Park in East Nashville and was dedicated during the 100th anniversary celebration of the park in October 2012.

Each year, Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network (PAN) selects public artworks for the Year in Review, the only national program recognizing projects of excellence in the public-art field.

The winning projects were selected by jurors Jon Carson, Head of the School of Art, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Norie Sato, a noted public artist living in Seattle, Wash.; and Justine Topfer, project manager for the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco, Calif.

The 50 finalists were chosen from more than 350 applicants nationwide.

“We’re delighted to be recognized in this elite group of national public art projects. As we grow the public art collection for the city of Nashville, we strive for excellence in the artists and artworks that are chosen. Lawrence Argent was an exciting choice for this project, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have his work in the collection,” said Jennifer Cole, executive director of Metro Arts.

Argent’s piece ‘Reflection’ explores Shelby Park’s past, present and future through playful reflective metaphors. Referencing the former amusement park and the park’s expansive wildlife, specifically the mockingbird, it is within the sculpture’s materials and form where these whimsical reflections come together. The mirrored quality of the mockingbird parallels its natural “mimicking” qualities, while reflecting a new vista within the park. The bird, perched trophy-like, is positioned on a piece of carved granite, reflecting the negative of the opposing wall. The opposing wall is carved with a swirling motion that terminates into a hole, suggesting curiosity and passage.

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, a commission of the Metropolitan Nashville Government, provides leadership that stimulates and advances the arts to enrich the human experience for the community. Metro Arts receives operational support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and additional information is available online at <www.artsnashville.org>.