With over 105 permanent outdoor artworks, Chattanooga has the most public art in the Southeast that you will love to explore. Kat Wright, City of Chattanooga’s Public Art Director invites you to take in these notable downtown public art projects. Be on the lookout for more downtown Public Art Chattanooga projects in the works. View the Experience Art Map for a more comprehensive list.
How about a colorful piece of art for the creator in you? With the overwhelmingly positive community response to the original Passageways program, River City Company, tinker ma and PAC presented Passageways 2.0, in a permanent installation focused on the urban fabric that exists between our city’s buildings. Designed and built by the multidisciplinary architecture and design team, SPORTS, “City Thread” is a vibrant pedestrian corridor, which can be adapted to a public event space. Located in Cooper’s Alley, the project physically connects visitors, while also producing a multitude of dynamic conditions including informal lounging/sitting, mini-stages, and movie screenings, among others. The design is intended to allow both users and those in charge of programming activities to interpret the project and discover different ways to utilize the alley as needs change.
Experience 9 different living tributes to the resiliency and vibrancy of the Cherokee culture—and those of other tribes removed from this region during the Trail of Tears by visiting “The Passage.” “The Passage” is a pedestrian link between downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River at Ross’ Landing (the city’s original settlement, named for the Cherokee Chief John Ross). The project is among the nation’s largest public art projects celebrating Cherokee history and culture created by Team Gadugi of Oklahoma, as part of an overall effort to redevelop the Chattanooga riverfront.
Blue Boy Pull Toy #1 giant blue rhino standing on a wagon at Coolidge Park created by local artist John Petry.
“Walnut” by Rondell Crier was selected into PAC’s 6th Biennial Sculpture exhibition in 2014. The Biennial Sculpture exhibition began in 2005 and through this rotating program, artworks were placed on the riverfront adjacent to the Tennessee Aquarium, First Street, and the Chattanooga Green. The Biennial Sculpture Exhibition continued through 2018 and is widely recognized as contributing to the growth of the City’s permanent art collection; as some works, such as “Walnut” became part of the permanent outdoor collection through private donations. The sculpture remains in Renaissance Park.
M.L. KING DISTRICT
Big Nine Legends
Big Nine Legends Mural created by teens in foster care from the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults and Children’s Home/Chambliss Shelter and facilitated by local visual artists Frances McDonald and Judy Mogul from Mark Making.
WE WILL NOT BE SATISFIED UNTIL
Take time to appreciate the rich culture and history with the mural Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, which also provided the work’s title. The 42,000 square-foot mural on the AT&T building by the Bessie Smith Cultural Center depicts the past, present and future vision for the City’s M.L. King District by Meg Saligman Studios. Everyone depicted in the work is a Chattanoogan photographed by the artists, which also included 6 local artists on the team. It is among the largest murals in the Southeast and the first to wrap a city block.
Do you love to interact with art? Checkout the vacant 1.72-acre tract of land in Chattanooga’s Southside that was transformed into a completely unique urban art fitness park led by Thomas Sayre. Located near The Chattanoogan hotel, the installation seeks to generate synergy between art, placemaking and active living. “Main Terrain” features sculptural elements reminiscent of the Walnut Street Bridge mounted on a movable track allowing for park-goers to physically interact with the artwork. In addition to serving as an active park, the environmentally friendly space functions as a site for City stormwater management.
THE LEAST AMOUNT OF SPACE
The Least Amount of Space sculpture was created by Jason Kimes and displayed at Sculpture Fields at Montague Park.
Photo Credit: Papae Litchfield
Experience Art Map
Explore the Experience Art Map to see even more and create your own public art walking tour.
Chattanooga Travel Inspiration Magazine
A version of this story was previously published in the 2023 Fall & Winter edition of our Travel Inspiration Magazine.