Fanciful bike racks coming to local landmarks

Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 4:36pm
'Corn & Tomatoes' will be installed at Rosa Parks Boulevard outside the Farmers Market.

Cyclists riding in the urban core of Nashville can park their bikes at a giant padlock, a row of soaring cornstalks or a winding microphone perhaps as soon as late spring.

Those are just three of the seven imaginative bicycle racks approved Thursday by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission out of 139 designs submitted in the open contest, finalizing the first wave of an undertaking billed as a “template” to install more public art in Nashville.

“My impression is there’s something here for everybody,” said Pepe Presley, vice chair of the commission and chair of Nashville’s Public Art Committee. “It’s a great (project) for the city and it’s something I think we’ll be strutting out to different locations.”

The project’s total price tag of less than $100,000 came from funds collected through Metro’s “Percent for the Arts” program, which dedicates 1 percent of all net proceeds of general obligation bonds issued for public construction projects to the funding of public art.

The commission, which began accepting applications in September, only considered professional artists who live within a 200-mile radius of Nashville. Winning design teams of the bike racks each collected $2,500.

Arts commission chair Jane Alvis said the installment phase of the project should begin by late spring or early summer 2010, with the hope being to eventually approve more bike racks for others areas.

Locations that will receive new racks are the downtown Nashville Public Library, the Farmers Market at Rosa Parks Boulevard, Bicentennial Mall, the Music Row Roundabout, the Fulton Complex at Second Avenue South and on Commerce Street on between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

The approved bike racks are:

1. “Padlock Emerging from Ground” by Matt Young of Memphis, which will be installed at the downtown Nashville Public Library. Made of stainless steel and set in a concrete base, the design will be replicated in a group to accommodate multiple bicycles.

2. “Corn & Tomatoes” by Paige Easter and Dan Goostree of Nashville, which will be installed at Rosa Parks Boulevard outside the Farmers Market. The rack presents large sliced tomatoes and corns stalks that are made of durable exterior materials.

3. “Capitol” by Luke Tidwell of Nashville, which will be positioned at the Bicentennial Mall side of Farmers Market. The rack combines the stars from the Tennessee flag with a symbol of cycling.

4. “Microphone Rack” by Franne Lee, Keith Harmon and Mac Hill of Nashville, which will go at the northeast corner of Demonbreun Street and Music Row. The rack, made of stainless steel, represents Nashville’s history as a communications, broadcasting and music center.

5. “Bicycle Copse,” by Anice Doak of Nashville, will be installed at Commerce Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The 11-foot tall structure, made of stainless steel, is designed to be reminiscent of a group of trees found in nature.

6. “Banjos,” by Ric Howse, a Middle Tennessee native, will be placed at the Fulton Office Complex at Second Avenue South. Its design is intended to complement the musical heritage and tradition of Nashville by displaying upright, slightly tilted banjos.

The commission approved a seventh bike rack design, which does not yet have a location.

9 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 12/4/09 at 7:14

They are all downtown. Just proving the point of the Councillor who complained about taxpayer funded art only going to downtown.

By: trtay2004 on 12/4/09 at 9:25

This is good for Nashville. Downtown brings in tourist that makes the city more money that keep us from having state income tax.

By: Kosh III on 12/4/09 at 11:37

Tourists will not be using bicycles to get around!

By: aaronmidnight on 12/4/09 at 3:31

I think the designs are friggin' awesome and Nashville should be happy it has such talented artists willing to submit designs for relatively little compensation.

Downtown is relatively compact and relatively flat. It's the perfect place to start building a biking infrastructure.

More bicycling = less obesity and fewer cars on the road, which should mean fewer heart attacks and less gridlock. Whether you're a cyclist or a motorist, this has to be good news! :)

By: aaronmidnight on 12/4/09 at 3:32

PS - I do agree with Kosh that to the extent possible, bike infrastructure should be spread a bit more throughout the Nashville area. For example, how about East Nashville or Donelson?

By: chino on 12/5/09 at 8:03

I have to agree with the comments about not reaching outside the downtown area.. Although I am happy to see these coming to Nashville at all it would have been nice to see them included in some other areas of town such as East Nashville (5 points), Hillsboro Village, 12South, etc...

These are much more residential areas where people are more likely to utilize them as they ride around their neighborhoods.
Hopefully, this is a first phase and additional ones will come to other areas of town.

By: govskeptic on 12/5/09 at 8:10

I'd like to see designs that are not only artful, but
those with the ability to be more mass produced
at a more reasonable cost to be spread to many
other areas of the city! Is cost nothing of matter
to this city?

By: DaddyYo on 12/5/09 at 9:16

Kosh - you are correct. Expect to see others outside of downtown later. The charter of the Percent for Art needs to be changed. It is rigged to favor downtown. The Percent for Art Committe was supposed to have developed a plan for public art to be spread around the county but they haven't done it.

Read the Percent for Art Guidelines. They are insulting. They make it sound like Nashvilleans are rubes that need the committee to educate them. The committee sounds like they think Nashville is inferior and needs to be brought up to their standards.

Aaronmidnight - obiesity does have anything to do with bike riding. You get fat from eating too much. It is not just Nashville artits that were awarded commissions. The highest profile award, at the Library, went to a Memphis graphic artist.

Why are we using our tax dollars to reward someone from Memphis? Plus the rack is the worst of the lot.

By: DaddyYo on 12/5/09 at 9:26

Of all of the submissions how did these get picked?

The master lock is just stupid and ugly, the poles are a waste of material and ugly and the banjo is trite. I like the corn and tomato (although I wonder how many like that were submitted) and the microphone. The circle and gears are a throw away.

I was told that only "professional artist" were allowed to submit designs. I am an unemployed architect with two fine arts degress. I was told I wouldn't be allowed to submit. I submitted three designs and a resume that showed I had art work in a musem and at Opryland Hotel.

I wonder if I was diqualified? You can see my entrys here -