Eco-Sculptures bring Greenbelt alive with art

Brian Wilkerson, left, and Jared King install an art exhibit focused on recycling.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Brian Wilkerson, left, and Jared King install an art exhibit focused on recycling.

Zac Benson’s work “Random Precision” overlooks Pistol Creek Station and the Blount County Library.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Zac Benson’s work “Random Precision” overlooks Pistol Creek Station and the Blount County Library.

 “Tree Spirit” by Annamarie Gundlach peers out at visitors to the Greenbelt as part of the Eco-Sculptures exhibit.

“Tree Spirit” by Annamarie Gundlach peers out at visitors to the Greenbelt as part of the Eco-Sculptures exhibit.

Artist Jacob Stanley works on his eco-sculpture “Weeping Willow,” created with thread and the willow tree on the Greenbelt.

Artist Jacob Stanley works on his eco-sculpture “Weeping Willow,” created with thread and the willow tree on the Greenbelt.

Downtown Maryville has taken on a different look this week as artists have situated sculptures created from recycled material throughout the Greenbelt.

Maryville Arts Coalition executive director Katie Gamble said the Eco-Sculptures competition has struck a cord with the public. “People are really excited. We hit a note. We hit on something people really are interested in,” she said. “People are concerned about the environment and creating art out of recycled materials is an old practice but a neat idea. Anybody can be an artist and create something with recycled materials.”

Gamble said the competition is exciting and is something she hopes M.A.C. does every year. “It’s going to grow and get bigger and more people will get involved,” she said.

Maryville Arts Coalition worked with Keep Blount Beautiful to organize the first Juried Outdoor Eco-sculpture Exhibition and Competition. The sculptures are on display now through April 25 at the Pistol Creek Station/Blount County Public Library bridge area of the Greenbelt Park.

The public can also stretch their artistic talents and celebrate “green” with a Community Teepee project during Last Friday Art Walk on Friday, April 24, from 5 to 9 p.m.

The project is patterned after one that is done at the Lake Eden Arts Festival in North Carolina, Gamble said. The teepee sculpture, which will be in Greenbelt Park near the Pistol Creek Station and close to the Ruby Tuesday parking garage on Harper, will begin as simple poles set up in a teepee frame. Children and adults will be asked to create the sculpture by hanging bits and pieces of recycled material and earthen materials of different colors and shapes on the teepee, creating a community sculpture.

An artist reception and awards presentation for Eco-Sculpture will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 24, which is also the April Last Friday Art Walk. State Sen. Doug Overbey will preside.

The event is designed to coordinate with Earth Round-Up and help raise environmental awareness within the community through large-scale environmental installations and sculpture on display to the public at the Greenbelt Park.

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