Progress made on Veterans Park sculpture titled "Cycle of Support"

Hannah Swayze • May 13, 2018 at 9:18 PM

The sculpture in Veteran's Park got a little color this weekend as one of the artists, Nikki Pynn, traveled from Radford, Virginia, to get to work on her mosaic portion of the sculpture.

Pynn and fellow artist Barry Keller answered the call to art put out by Artlandia, a grassroots non-profit arts initiative in Johnson City several months ago for a "3-D bicycle-inspired public work of art."

What resulted was a plan for an 18-foot three-dimetional kinetic sculpture of two steel trees with bike spokes and a small stream connecting them at the bottom. It's designed using both Keller's welding and Pynn's work with glass and mosaics.

According to Artlandia founder and director, Virginia Salazar-Buda, it's the first public work of art in a Johnson City neighborhood and the first kinetic work in Johnson City.

"(Keller is) building two 18-foot trees and at the top we’ve got bike parts that will be on pivots, so they'll spin in the wind. And they'll kind of counteract and up against each other but not hitting each other. They'll look like they're playing around in the wind. I'll be putting glass in the bike sprocket so there's glass at the bottom glass at the top," Pynn said.

With the installation also being in the small Veterans Parks on the South Side Elementary School campus, the artists named the piece. "Cycle of Support."

"We thought with this being Veterans Park, we wanted to support that with the idea of (...) showing that soldiers support each other when they're in battle and when they come back home, we should support them," Pynn said. 

This is the second phase of a two-part bike art project by Artlandia. The first phase was a series of bike-inspired pieces on display in local businesses. This project, including phase one, has been four years in the making.

The art installation is a project costing $14,500 in total. $10,000 was fundraised by Artlandia and $4,500 comes from a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Pynn said that both she and Keller had been working separately with bicycles for years and had just recently began collaborating.

"We worked together before on small sculptures. We've worked individually on large pieces. We had no concern about being able to pull off what we were proposing. We were really so pleased, so excited to be doing this," Pynn said.

The deadline for the installation in June 1. Until then, Pynn will return to her studio in Radford to finish parts that need to be done there.

To follow the progress of the piece, Artlandia can be found at Artlandia.org and on Facebook and Nikki Pynn can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com.NikkiPynnStudio. Barry Keller has produced severalyoutube videos about his process. Those can be found on his youtube channel, Empty Hammock. 

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