Though it’s early in the process, public support might be growing for food and music themes to the public art component of the future 28th/31st Avenue Connector, according to Gary Gaston, design director of the Nashville Civic Design Center.
Gaston, speaking via phone following an NCDC-overseen public meeting regarding the connector, said meeting attendees stressed cultural and community elements for the soon-to-be-reinvented streets, which will provide connectivity between Nashville’s north and west sides.
“It’s not only a physical connection but a connecting of communities … that can unite people,” Gaston said. “That element is symbolic of what could be cool about the project.”
Under Metro’s Percent for Art program, the city places 1 percent of the proceeds from construction bonds issued for government buildings, parks and parking facilities into a fund that covers public art expenditures. The 28th/31st Avenue Connector will qualify for the program, as it will wind through Centennial Park.
Jennifer Cole, executive director of the Metro Arts Commission, said this will be the city's first project that will integrate art into the streetscape.
Cole said the commission is "thrilled" by the progress being made, adding that there is a bit more to do with the design team and setting a budget. A call for artists could be made in early 2011, she said.
Mayor Karl Dean set aside $18 million in his most capital spending plan for the streetscape improvement project, which city leaders discussed for years but were never able to execute.
The Metro Public Works Engineering Division will oversee the project, joined by the Metro Water Services Department, the Metro Arts Commission, Gresham Smith & Partners and Littlejohn Engineering Associates.
No official start date has been announced.