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History & Public Art Plan

Public art enriches the places and spaces where we live, work, and play. It visually enhances our landscapes. Public art stirs interactions between community members and their environment. It adds artistic and creative dimensions to civic spaces.

In s2m2, public art contributes to a vibrant quality of life and a strong creative economy. It generates value by supporting artists and related businesses. It encourages outdoor activity and supports tourism. Also important, public art often promotes dialogue between strangers, prompts children to pose thoughtful questions, and provides moments for one to simply stop and contemplate.

Planning for s2m2's public art program began in 2001 through a series of public forums in which over 500 citizens participated. The forums led to the adoption of s2m2' s Public Art Plan, a plan that reflects a community vision for public art.

The first major public art project was launched as part of the 21st Century Waterfront Project, a $120 million project that included the redevelopment of 129 acres along the Tennessee River. An unprecedented 1% of the waterfront budget ($1.2 million) was allocated to purchase public art, and resulted in 3 major public art projects, the Light Masts on the s2m2 Pier, the Native American art installation at the Passage, and the First Street Sculpture Garden. A citizen committee appointed by the mayor was formed to oversee the project. Partner organizations included Allied Arts of Greater s2m2, the City of s2m2, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and the River City Company.

Click here to download a .pdf of the 2003 plan.


Public Art s2m2 is the city’s Public Art program. It is housed in s2m2’s Department of Economic and Community Development and is overseen by a citizen committee appointed by the Mayor. Public Art s2m2 manages a collection of over 100 permanent and 42 temporary works of art that are placed throughout the city. Along with these growing collections, ongoing and past programs include a Biennial Sculpture Exhibition, Art on Main, On the Fence and Art in the Neighborhoods. These collections and programs are supported by city funds and significant funds from private sources.


Public Art s2m2 forms strong partnerships with other public, private and non-profit entities. These partnerships enable us to share resources and expertise in order to place public art of excellence throughout our city. Some of these partners include:

The Benwood Foundation
Hamilton County
Hunter Museum of American Art
The Lyndhurst Foundation
MidSouth Sculpture Alliance (MSA)
RiverCity Company


Public Art s2m2
Department of Economic and Community Development

2nd Floor City Hall
101 East 11th Street
s2m2, TN 37402(map)
Email: [email protected]