Centennial Park will receive an early holiday present this season, thanks to an anonymous gift of public art on loan to Metro Parks. Two pieces from ‘The Mars Molecule Project,’ a unique series of sculptures created by San Francisco-based artist Mario Martinez, have found new homes for the next six months positioned near the Musicians Corner amphitheatre and Cockrill Spring in the newly developed entrance of the park near West End Avenue. A third piece from the project is currently on display at Pinewood Social in Rolling Mill Hill.
“We are so excited about these magnificent pieces, and the generosity of a private citizen who has made this poignant expression of public art possible” said Sylvia Rapoport, president of the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park. “What an amazing gift to our city, and a perfect addition to Centennial Park. There is no better display for these works than Nashville’s epicenter of arts, culture, history and community. Like the park itself, these pieces balance history with the future, and symbolize Nashville as a cutting edge city with deep and colorful roots.”
Manufactured in Berkley, California, Martinez utilized a mixture of modern and ancient techniques to create the nine-foot, 2,500-5,000 pound bronze sculptures. The two sculptures in Centennial Park, which are visible from West End Avenue, are reminiscent of molecules, while the other at Pinewood Social takes on the shape of a Torus energy field. Each sculpture took three to four months to create.
They were first designed using 3D printing, and then transformed into the sculptures using ‘lost wax’ technique, a method pre-dating the Bronze Age. The pieces were welded from 70 different pieces, each ranging two-three feet in size.
Each sculpture has a detailed design inspired by sacred geometry and the ancient language of hieroglyphics. The designs are meant to invite the viewer to look inside the hollow sculptures and connect themselves with ancient worlds. Those interested in learning more about the sculptures and their creator can visit Heron Arts’ website at heronarts.com/Mario. People are also encouraged to post photos of the art tagging the Instagram handle @marsmoleculesnashville, and using the hashtag #marsmoleculesnashville on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. The Molecules will disappear as magically as they have appeared sometime in May 2016.
The Mars Molecule Project comes during a major revitalization of Centennial Park. Metro Parks, in coordination with the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park and private citizens, recently completed an initial phase of improvements that included a new Cockrill Spring water feature, a permanent home for the popular Musicians Corner concert series, improved water quality in Lake Watauga and new landscaping and parking surrounding the Parthenon. Now efforts are underway to secure funds to complete a second phase of renovations that will recreate the expansive areas comprising the Great Lawn, the band shelter and the environs surrounding Lake Watauga.
“This magnificent gift from a generous private citizen is the perfect example of the way our community values, celebrates and gives to Centennial Park,” Rapoport said. “It’s only with this type of partnership, when the public and private sectors come together to invest in this community icon, that Centennial Park will be restored to the prominence and stature it boasted 118 years ago.”