‘Travelers II’ in Big Spring Park Unveiled

‘Travelers II’ is located on the south side of Big Spring Park on Williams Avenue.

Many Huntsville residents strolling downtown have found themselves curious about the appearance of tall silver arcs reaching skywards in Big Spring Park across from the AC Hotel on Williams Avenue.

The installation of Travelers II, a sculpture designed by artists David Dahlquist and Matt Niebuhr of RDG Dahlquist Art Studios, is officially complete.

The completion is auspicious timing for the latest addition to the City of Huntsville’s public art collection, serving as a southern gateway to Big Spring Park just as its cherry trees spring into full bloom and the city prepares for its 40th Panoply Arts Festival. In the words of the artists:

We are on this rock together

All of us, Travelers

Souls that went before us, and those that will follow

All of us hurtling, spinning, dancing through space

Making moments

Together

“Our vision is grounded in Huntsville’s history while celebrating the city’s trajectory into the future,” states RDG Dahlquist Art Studios.

The word traveler has several associations, from the indigenous people who first traveled to Big Spring, to innovative newcomers contributing to the city’s growth today. Huntsville’s identity is entwined with the history and the future of space travel, and today, as a global STEM center, the city leads the world as we travel into a tech-driven future.

The sculpture is situated right off Big Spring, which naturally leads to the Tennessee River, a correspondence that further harkens visitors to consider the passage of time, and how Huntsville itself might flow into the future.

Ring travelers  found embedded in the floorboards of historic textile mills inspirational shape for the benches installed at the site.

Two arrays of steel arcs, ranging from fourteen to sixteen feet high, are punctuated with a constellation of perforations in a manner of starlight. Their stature connects the viewer to the heavens as well as the earth. Also serving as a gathering place, the piece is surrounded by custom polished-concrete benches to encourage social moments. The orbital shape of the benches is inspired by ring ‘travelers’ used to spin cotton. Such ‘travelers’ similarly-shaped grommets may be found embedded in the floorboards of historic textile mills in the area. Lighting is situated around both the benches and sculpture alike, creating interplays of shadow and light at both day and night.

“While both installations are striking during the day, we can’t wait for the public to interact with these new gathering spaces at night in downtown Huntsville,” said Allison Dillon-Jauken, Executive Director of Arts Huntsville. “These nighttime environments really do set a dramatic and serene backdrop for photos and memory-making.”

A selection committee comprised of four community members with related expertise selected the proposal Travelers II in 2019, along with a number of non-voting ex officio members serving in an advisory capacity.

A constellation of perforations in the arcs of ‘Travelers II’ invite site visitors to contemplate the stars.

“Artists Dahlquist and Niebuhr brought both the background and experience to complete a large-scale, multi-site public art installation while also creating artworks that tell Huntsville’s aspirational story in a new way,” said Dennis Madsen, City of Huntsville Manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning.

“I wanted the art to be distinctive in comparison to other public art in Huntsville,” explained graphic designer Mark Moore. “The structural nature appealed to me and the scale of it as well as the interplay it will have with light and the sky will make for nice photo opportunities that park goers can enjoy.”

CityCentre Public Art Selection Committee:

  • Leslie Lockhart, Visual Artist
  • Mark Moore, Graphic Designer and Director of Public Relations, Drake State Technical College
  • Abby Owen, Registered Commercial Interior Designer
  • David Nuttall, Artist & Owner, Artimaps

Ex Officio City of Huntsville Representative:  Dennis Madsen, City of Huntsville Manager of Urban and Long-Range Planning

Ex Officio Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville Representative:  Chris Russell, 2019 Board Chair

Ex Officio Redstone Federal Credit Union Representative:  Joe Guske, Vice President of Innovation

Ex Officio RCP Companies Representative:  Lindsey Pattillo Keane, Marketing & Property Activation

Ex Officio Huntsville Public Art Committee Representative:  Kim Ward, Arts Huntsville Board Member and Art Consultant

Ex Officio Arts Huntsville Representative:  Allison Dillon-Jauken, Executive Director

Travelers II serves as a companion installation to Travelers, installed in Community Foundation Park in May of 2021. (Plans for Travelers III, also part of the RDG’s original design proposal and slated for the CityCentre Development, is indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19 delays and supply chain issues.)

Arts Huntsville Releases RFP for Two Temporary Public Art Installations with Announcement of Artist Development Workshop Series

 

– Exclusive opportunity for local artists/artist teams, workshop participants –

Huntsville, AL – Arts Huntsville has released a local Request for Proposals (RFP) for two temporary public art installations in conjunction with the announcement that registration is now open for its Public Artist Development Workshop series, “Taking Your Art Public.” The series will allow local artists to develop their public art skills and the opportunity to formally apply and submit an RFP for the two upcoming installations.

The five-series workshop kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, with the RFP information introduced, and runs through the end of October 2021, with the two local artists being selected at the final workshop. To be eligible to apply, local artists and/or artist teams must attend the workshop either in person at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment or via YouTube live streaming – as this learning experience will allow local studio artists to learn from public art professionals on how to apply and be selected for art commissions within the public art realm.

“Huntsville is home to a dynamic art community, and we are seeing more public art opportunities emerge in both municipal projects and private development,” said Allison Dillon-Jauken, Arts Huntsville executive director. “This workshop is designed to help Huntsville artists enter the public art field and compete for projects that match their expertise locally, regionally and nationally.”

 

“Taking Your Art Public” Series Information

Session One – Behind the Scenes, Thursday, September 16 – led by Allison Dillon-Jauken, executive director, Arts Huntsville:

Workshop partners will introduce the workshops and goals and share how the public art process works, who gets selected and how the decisions are made.

Session Two – Going for It, Thursday, September 23– led by Herb Williams, artist:

A public art artist will share how they transitioned their work from the studio to the public realm and moved from smaller sculptural pieces to larger commissions.

Session Three – Public Art Collaborators, Thursday, September 30

A design professional explains ways an architect, engineer or other professional in the building industry can help artists achieve their goals, including providing needed drawings and access to a network of connections and advice from others in the field.

Session Four – Stepping up the Public Ladder, Thursday, October 14 (note: no workshop Thursday, October 7) – led by Teri Alea, public art consultant, former public art project manager:

A public art professional will share how artists progress from entry‐level projects to bigger commissions, including developing public art teams, expanding expertise and incorporate team members of public art projects.

Session Five – Presentation and Project Selection, Thursday, October 21:

The final workshop will include proposal presentations by workshop participants, jurying and selection for two $2,500 commissions.

 

Arts Huntsville serves as the public art program manager for the City of Huntsville and is producing the series with support by Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment. The upcoming series was designed around local artists’ response to a public art survey that was completed in fall of 2020. The two public art installations will be located in Huntsville, one at Lowe Mill and the other location to be announced during the series. Both installations will remain in place for approximately one year.

 

Interested local artists can learn more and register by visiting:  http://www.artshuntsville.org/public-art/public-artist-workshops/

Once the series concludes, the YouTube live streaming videos will be released to the public.

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Arts Huntsville is a non-profit organization founded in 1962. Our mission is to stimulate and support community creativity and engagement by advancing the arts, entertainment, and culture to enrich quality of life, education, and economic development in the greater Huntsville metropolitan region. Arts Huntsville serves as the local arts agency for the City of Huntsville and the greater metropolitan region, supporting artists, arts organizations, residents, and visitors through four core program areas: Arts Promotion & Support, Arts Education, Community Events and Public Art.

 

 

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