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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tennessee Travelogue #3: Artistic Differences

This is the third in a series of posts from guest writer Jason Lea on his trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

First, a correction: Ruby Falls is 140 feet, not 200. It only seems 200 feet when you see it by lantern light. Here's what it looks like when lit by LED lights.

Chattanooga embraces art in a lot of different ways. It has the Hunter Art Museum that focuses on American painting and sculpture. Here are a couple of examples from its collection:

This painting was created by Oscar Bluemner, who was also known as the Vermillionaire for his use of that particular hue. (I want my nickname to be the Hamburgundy.)

This horse looks like it is a skeleton made of driftwood. It is, in fact, constructed from cast bronze.

As enjoyable as the art museum is, it's not revolutionary to have a museum dedicated to art in your city. What impresses me about Chattanooga is how it incorporates art into all aspects of the city.

For example, it reminds you that the culinary arts are, of course, an art.

It also has repurposed an old cigarette machine to give small pieces of artwork. Some of which is locally made.

The city's fantastic aquarium has an exhibit called Jellies: Living Art, in which it commissioned artists to recreate the imagery of jelly fish with ceramics, blown glass and other glasswork. It is done in cooperation with the art museum.

The aquarium also incorporates sculpture into its turtle exhibit.

The Bluffview Art District lies on the shore of the Tennessee River. It has a free sculpture garden that is open from morning until dusk. The sculptures in the exhibit occasionally change as some of them are for sale.

Icarus cannot be bought.

However, Man Defeats Chair can.

Bluffview also has a gallery with more sculpture and artwork that can be purchased. My favorite artist inside is Teena Stern.

Stern creates bronze sculptures of dancers in ballet positions. You can immediately tell her sculptures are made by a woman because their features have an honesty that men would idealize. If I had a few thousand disposable dollars, I would be leaving Chattanooga with a Stern original.

Rock City is on Lookout Mountain, near Ruby Falls. It has large, outside gardens and caverns that use sculpture and light to enhance nature's beauty.

My favorite part was Fairytale Caverns where sculptor Jesse Sanders created a series of dioramas depicting childhood stories. (Good for kids!)

Finally, I want to leave you with some snippets from Sheryl Crow's performance at the Riverbend Music Festival.

Riverbend is a 9-day, genre-spanning music festival on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.

The stage is actually on the river. (Crow specifically noted there would be no stage diving during her performance.)

Crow is the headliner for the opening night. Other headliners range from Allison Krauss to George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Extraordinary as-it-happens look at your Chattanooga trip, Jason! Looking forward to your story which today's Travel section announces. Blogging adds such a different dimension to travel writing, especially when photos and videos are imbedded.

June 13, 2010 at 7:37 AM 

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