The National Fitness Campaign Brings Public Art to Huntsville Parks

The City of Huntsville and Arts Huntsville officially opened the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) FitnessCourt® public art installation at John Hunt Park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m.

Mayor Tommy Battle attended with Huntsville Parks and Recreation Director James Gossett, City Administrator John Hamilton, and Arts Huntsville Public Program Manager Jennifer Johnson to highlight the installation featuring artwork of world-renowned artist Keith Haring.

“It’s fantastic to see artwork incorporated into our public projects across the city, Mayor Battle said. “It’s even more meaningful to see artistry wrapped into wellness, and we thank our partners at Arts Huntsville for leading this effort.”

Following the ribbon cutting, a Parks and Recreation fitness trainer led community members in demonstrating how the innovative outdoor circuit training center provides a full-body workout in just seven minutes.

With the Keith Haring Fitness Court at John Hunt Park, visitors will interact with artwork they may not otherwise see outside of a museum. In the months ahead, they’ll be able to experience other artwork at fitness courts in city parks across our community.

“The ability to enjoy a free workout, while surrounded by the vibrant work of local and international artists, is a unique experience,” said Gossett. “We’re excited about this addition to John Hunt Park and look forward to the upcoming installations at Legacy Park, Apollo Park and California Street Park.”

The artist selection for Legacy Park is well underway, with local artists FRESKO, Trinity Poplar, and Neal Fudge IV (commonly known as Asé Selah) recently selected as the three finalists to produce proposal sketches for the Fitness Court to be installed of spring of 2023.
More about Keith Haring can be learned through the Keith Haring Foundation. Established by the artist in 1989, the Keith Haring Foundation perpetuates Haring’s artistic and philanthropic legacy through the preservation and circulation of his artwork and archives, and by providing grants to children in need and those affected by HIV/AIDS.

VBC Gallery Exhibit: “INSIGHT HSV: Local Artists in Public View” featuring the work of local public artists

In his work, (including Liberation II above) artist Jahni Moore employs red clay as an artistic medium. He collects this material from the earth of North Alabama itself, demonstrating how the selection of local artists enhances Huntsville’s Public Art Program in unique ways.

Now through the end of January 2023, visitors to the Von Braun Center (VBC) can experience a dynamic new artwork collection on display in the Arts Huntsville Gallery between the VBC Playhouse and Concert Hall. “INSIGHT HSV: Local Artists in Public Viewfeatures the work of local artists that have been highly involved in the Huntsville Public Art Program in 2022. The show is designed to raise public awareness of the City’s Public Art Program and to exhibit the work of artists currently under consideration for new works of public art.

“2022 marks an exciting year of growth for Huntsville’s Public Art Program, with a record number of opportunities specifically target local artists,” Arts Huntsville Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken said. “This exhibit celebrates local artists who are bringing their work out of the studio and into the community as we continue to grow the Public Art Program.”

The exhibit features artists that have advanced in recent open public artist calls this year for sites such as the new City Hall, local parks, and an Artist-Initiated Public Art Program funded by the City of Huntsville and the National Endowment for the Arts. Arts Huntsville invited the featured artists to exhibit art of their choice from their existing bodies of work. Exhibiting artists include:  Julie Crews, Jim Felder, Susie Garrett, Jahni Moore, Lakshmi Nallamala, Jessica Nunno, David Nuttall, Yuri Ozaki, Guadalupe Lanning Robinson, Ann Moeller Steverson, Gwyer Sinclair, Anna Troupe, Cynthia Wagner, and Emily Wilson.

“A majority of the artists curated into this exhibit are the selected semifinalists for our City Hall Phase II RFQ that we released earlier this year,” Public Art Program Manager Jennifer Johnson noted. “Some have applied to multiple public art opportunities, even if they’ve never exhibited in a public art context before. This exhibit is quite special as it gives the public a chance to familiarize themselves with these talented local artists, some of whom we’ll increasingly see involved with local public art as we continue to implement the Public Art Master Plan.”

The Public Art Master Plan, initially drafted in 2015, established a Public Art Program for the City of Huntsville, to be administered in partnership with Arts Huntsville – the City’s long-time partner in supporting the development, presentation, and promotion of the arts in Huntsville. This relationship combines City resources, community oversight, and professional guidance to ensure a successful Public Art Program. The plan also recommends a focus on education and outreach, to inform the community about the City’s Public Art Program and collection, and to build the skills of local artists to successfully execute public art projects through programming and ongoing communications. The program is the first of its kind in the state of Alabama.

“INSIGHT HSV” can be viewed in the north interior halls of the VBC, adjacent to Arts Huntsville office, through January 28, 2023.