DowntownWow! Lots of excitement in downtown Kingsport lately and things really are gaining momentum. That’s right…downtown Kingsport…believe it or not.

Yesterday, I came to work and there were 200 school children touring our offices. Lisa Childress with the Downtown Kingsport Association was giving several classrooms a guided tour along the Heritage Trail and they were mesmorized by the bird’s nest in our columns in the old Bank of Kingsport.

There’s more than ever to see this year too. Yesterday, the Kingsport Arts Council began to unveil what will be 10 new street-side art sculptures that just sort of popped up on the downtown landscape and what a difference they make.

Yesterday, I was moving my car and there it was – “earth wind and fire” – that’s what the artist called this structure that sits in the middle of the intersection of Broad Street and Market. It’s an aluminum sculpture that sits in the intersection and from the right angle, you can fit the train station into the work. I love the work too, although the abstract qualities seem to leave some people a bit confused, but that’s a good thing the way I see it.

See more on this structure, plus video from Kingsport Times-News and Rain Smith.
Statue2 This is one of several structures to appear downtown too, because before the afternoon was over a exuberant wood sculpture was anchored in the Citizens Bank lot right across the street from our office. While I was taking pictures people were hollering at me from outside their car doors…what is it?!? You gotta appreciate anything that makes people ask that age-old question. I’m reminded of an old sketch comedy with Steve Martin on Saturday Night live where everyone gathers around and mumble the phrase…”what the hell is it?” Certainly a great conversation starter at the very least.

Evidently, there are more downtown art sculptures planned and although Bonnie McDonald with the Arts Council mentioned this to me a few weeks ago, I’m pleasantly surprised about the impact these works are bringing to a new organic spirit that seems to be gaining momentum in Downtown Kingsport.

Tonight is the first outdoor bluegrass concerts that begin a whole summer of live music in Kingsport and my good friend Bill Robinson gets to start off the festivities with his original song he wrote about our city. I hope to have some video and additional pictures to kick this off and no doubt these new sculptures will be the backdrop for a lot of downtown activities this year. Hats off to the organizers who are bringing a bit more culture and excitement to our mountain home. Look forward to seeing you downtown!