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Eve Hermann and Nick York walk their dog, Caboose, through the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park in February.
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If you go

› What: Spring in the Park first anniversary celebration.

› When: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, April 8.

› Where: Sculpture Fields, 1800 Polk St.

› Admission: Free.

› Phone: 423-266-7288.

› Website: http://sculpturefields.org.

Live music schedule

› 2 p.m. CSO Wind Ensemble

› 4 p.m. Charlie the Head

› 6 p.m. Ryan Oyer and Rick Rushing

John Henry is proud that the Sculpture Fields park he founded a year ago is becoming the talk of sculpture artists around the world. Many are even calling to ask when they can have a piece included.

But what really makes him smile — giggle, in fact — is looking out his office window overlooking the park between Main and 23rd streets and seeing people enjoying the space.

"I looked out yesterday and there was a mother and five kids, and they were flying kites and having a great time," he says with a laugh.

There are similar scenes of people enjoying the park every time he looks out — from joggers to dog walkers to yogis.

"I am very proud of it," he says. "It's not just an idea anymore. It is something that people can see and participate in."

The park will celebrate its one-year anniversary Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The day will include live music, tours and appearances by eight of the artists whose works are on display there, including Timur Akhriev, Thomas Caleb Goggans, Durinda Cheek, Caleb Stoltzfus and Victoria Pearmain. Henry will debut a new 70-foot piece he has finished.

Food trucks from Taqueria Jalisco, The Grilled Cheese Emergency and Clumpies Ice Cream will have food on hand, and there will be a beer tent.

The night will end with the burning of a 30-foot wooden sculpture by Andrew Nigh.

Admission is free.

The Sculpture Fields opened April 8, 2016, on 33 acres, formerly an unused field adjacent to Henry's studio. There are currently 32 large-scale sculptures created by 28 artists, says director Catherine Clifford.

All of the pieces are abstract and large. Some look as if they were formed by Titans playing pickup sticks with metal beams, and a couple have giant moving parts. One of the centerpieces is "Anchors," a 60-foot-tall, 100-ton piece that pays tribute to the five servicemen killed in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015.

Clifford says this was a dream of Henry's for many years and its popularity has already exceeded the hopes and expectations of all involved.

"We've had a very wonderful first year," she says.

"We've had people in the park every day. We are partnering with UTC and the Southeast Center for Education in Arts and the city's Public Art department. We've had 12 schools and about 600 students in, and we are working on a curriculum for school tours."

She says the students include all grades and ages, from local kindergartners to art majors from East Carolina University.

They have developed a workbook for the younger students that encourages them to use their imaginations when viewing the abstract pieces. It includes a section where they kids create their own narrative about the pieces.

"What we love about children is they don't feel like they need to know what it is, Clifford says. "Children use their imaginations."

Henry is a world-renowned modernist sculptor who works primarily in large-scale pieces. His dream for the park is to showcase pieces from artists around the world. He says fewer than a dozen are permanent pieces; the rest are on loan and will rotate in and out.

He says the park has become a "pilgrimage for people who are intensely involved in this type of art."

Artists and collectors have come here in the last year to see the works.

Clifford says the park is entering Phase 2, which includes a good deal of landscaping. The ultimate goal is to have about 70 sculptures and landscaping that creates a commemorative forest with outdoor "rooms" created by trees and native plants.

About 120 trees have been planted to provide shade, as well as shadows and shapes of their own as they mature and the seasons change.

The plan also includes building an amphitheater for live music and presentations in the future.

Visitors to the park on Saturday are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs for seating and plan to spend the day.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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