Oct 3

Local Artist Adds Vibrancy to North Huntsville

A new art installation at the Dr. Robert Shurney Legacy Center on Sparkman Drive features a scene of rest and relaxation, thanks to the work of a talented local artist.

The art, titled Sweet Dreams, is the creation of local artist Dariá Hammond. Completed in September, Hammond’s work depicts a relaxed figure comprised of soft color forms. He reclines with eyes closed, playing the guitar and relaxing to music.

Arts Huntsville, as the public art agency for the City of Huntsville, commissioned the work to celebrate the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library’s Blast Music program. Blast Music is Huntsville’s first streaming platform to feature local artists. The program builds local music libraries and catalogs, and engages local musicians throughout the community.

“Each entry was so beautiful and each offered a unique perspective, which is why it was a difficult job to choose among them!” said selection panel member and Blast Music Program Manager Annie Phillips. “Dariá’s Sweet Dreams piece was perfect in harmoniously combining the criteria of music, community, and a connection to space.”

Hammond says she wanted to show music as an outburst, a universal language, and a token of what music does and how it makes us feel.

District 1 City Council representative Devyn Keith, a longtime advocate of the arts, championed the addition. The Shurney Center has become a community hub in North Huntsville, and Keith knew public art would enhance the site.

The Shurney Center includes an 11-acre campus with walking trails, pickleball courts, pavilions, park area, a gymnasium, and the North Huntsville Public Library. The center was named after Dr. Shurney in recognition of his valued contributions to the U.S. Space Program. The moon is subtly featured in the artwork as a reference to Dr. Shurney’s work.

Five local artists with established experience with the city were invited to submit proposals in a limited selection process. Arts Huntsville guided the artists to create proposal sketches that celebrated the Blast Music program.

Pete ‘Float’ Lucker, Trevor Hughes, Danny Cottingham, Denise Onwere, and Dariá Hammond received honorariums to submit between one and three sketches each for consideration.

A selection panel comprised of relevant community members reviewed the submitted sketches and video statements from the artists.

“Huntsville is full to the brim with artistic talent,” said Anna Castellanos, a member of the selection committee. “The level of skill and originality in the artists’ proposals was impressive. Daria’s art has a whimsical vibe that feels perfect for the Shurney Center.” 

Serving on the selection panel were community members Annie Philips (Project Manager for Blast Music), DeLinda Morris (art educator at Jemison High School), William Hampton (Founder and Director Huntsville Revisited Museum), Dennis Madsen (Manager of Long Range and Urban Planning for the City of Huntsville and Ex-Officio Member of the Public Art Committee), Anna Castellanos (Public Art Committee Member and artist), and John Hamilton (City Administrator).


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