North Shore new home for 'Chattanooga Music Man'

North Shore new home for 'Chattanooga Music Man'

July 18th, 2012 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

Through a vote by local residents and business owners, the North Shore community has selected "Chattanooga Music Man" by Pittsburgh artist James Simon for permanent installation at the corner of Woodland and Frazier avenues.

Approximately 1,300 votes were cast over a two-week period for one of three finalists chosen by the North Shore Public Art Committee, with "Music Man" being the top pick of more than half of respondents.

"The fiddler ties into Chattanooga's rich music and working class culture, both past and present," said Simon in his proposal for the 8-by-4-foot "Chattanooga Music Man," which is crafted from clay covered with plaster molds and cast in glass-reinforced architectural concrete.

Renderings of the three finalists were created by Chattanooga-based augmented reality company SecondSite, allowing viewers to experience what the pieces would look like in the spatial context of what would be their permanent setting if selected.

While community members played a role in the piece's selection, no taxpayer dollars were used to fund the project, according to Brian Smith, public relations coordinator for the city of Chattanooga's Parks and Recreation Department.

The sculpture's installation is set to be complete by the end of October, but for those who cannot wait until fall, an augmented reality version is available via a smartphone or tablet computer.

"[Chattanooga] is one of the only locations in the whole world using this technology," said Smith of augmented reality.

To view a virtual image of the sculpture, go to the site at the corner of Woodland and Frazier avenues in front of Walgreens. Download the free Layar app on your smartphone or tablet computer, search for Chattanooga and click on "PAC Demo."

"Artists are, generally speaking, early adopters of technology and new media," said SecondSite co-founder Taylor McDonald, as to why he feels the company's technology pairs well with Public Art Chattanooga. "Augmented reality's a new media, and we can take this digital content and interact with it outside the context of a computer."

Around a dozen other virtual sculptures can be seen throughout the city using Site Unseen (also found by searching for Chattanooga in the Layar app), which was unveiled by SecondSite during the city's HATCH event this spring, said McDonald.

Each piece of public art in Chattanooga has also been equipped with a QR code which viewers can scan to download more information and media relating to the piece, he said.