A! Magazine for the Arts

"Citizen" depicts a male and female figure and is constructed of steel and glass.

"Citizen" depicts a male and female figure and is constructed of steel and glass.

New Public Art Dedicated In Nashville

June 17, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN -- "Citizen," a sculpture by renowned national artist Thomas Sayre and commissioned for $308,000, was dedicated on the Metro Courthouse's Public Square on June 10, 2010.

Funding came from a dedicated funding source: Every time the city borrows money using general obligation bonds, 1 percent is set aside for public art.

The 30-foot-tall structure is made of reinforced steel and interwoven pieces of glass. The two-piece interactive sculpture depicts a man and woman, each with an outstretched arm that can point to each other in conversation or to downtown's many landmarks. The two "citizens" are mobilized by a crank, that when moved, rotates the top halves and the open arms to direct the eye to any part of the city.

Each sculpture stands at 30-feet tall, weighing approximately 6,200-pounds. Aside from the outstretched hands, the diameter of the pieces is around 2-feet. With "pants" made of woven stainless steel and the upper body shaped by glass "fins," the piece maintains the abstract need for interpretation, something to which Sayre aspired.

Sandra Duncan, the Public Art Program manager for the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, said it's important when dealing with public art that citizens have a voice in the final decision. "The community's engaged in what should inspire this art. I think that's probably the most difficult part, including what the community says it would like to have highlighted," said Duncan.

"In this instance, it was being a citizen, being a leader, that every citizen has an opportunity to be a leader, and it's a choice you make as a citizen of Nashville as to whether you're going to contribute to your community, so we want to inspire that. I think that's what the people engaged in this wanted to do."

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