Playing the Sound of the Wind

Submitted by Adam Stephenson

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Client: Athens Main Street

Location: Athens, AL, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $20,000

Project Team

Project oversight, Commissioner

Tere Richardson

Athens Main Street

Assistant

Pamela Tellez Coria

Pamela Tellez Coria - Artist

Assistant

Honeyblood

Honeyblood - Artist

Assitant

Moses Pressnell

Moses Pressnell - Artist

Coordination Assistance

Trisha Black

Athens Main Street

Overview

First large-scale public art for Athens, Alabama.

This work, measuring 22′ x 44′, aims to pay respect to the annual Tennessee Valley Old Times Fiddlers Convention, while simultaneously bringing a fresh take on the aesthetics of the surrounding area. Capturing the bow’s motion and implying the instrument’s song through shape and flow, the design is intended to act as a complementary contrast to the immediate environment. The directional flow of the piece is intended to draw the attention of drivers and pedestrians into the alley where they will encounter the other planned works for Merchant Alley.

I was raised by a musical family. My parents fell in love while singing together in a rock band. My grandparents used to travel the US performing in a country band. My grandfather even had the fortune to host the Grand Ole Opry on a few occasions with Dolly Parton. I myself am a musician and learned how to play multiple instruments under the guidance of my father. My father passed away in November of 2020, and this mural would be a beautiful opportunity to honor the musical heritage of my family.

Goals

Athens Main Street is working to revitalize a part of its town center. They are redeveloping a historic alleyway known as Merchant Alley. At the time of commission, there were 5 art installations planned, with this mural being the centerpiece. Their goals were to commission a work of art celebrating the musical spirit of Athens, Alabama.

Process

I was contacted by Trisha Black and Tere Richardson to submit a proposal for Merchant Alley. They were familiar with my recent mural, 'Homecoming', in Decatur, Alabama. They wanted to see something capturing motion and the abstract qualities of music.

I researched the history of music in Athens and found their Annual Fiddler's convention to be particularly compelling. I was chosen as the artist to be commissioned after presenting several color options, mock-ups, and itemized budget.

I worked with local artists Moses Pressnell, Honeyblood, and Atlanta Artist Pamela Tellez Coria to bring the project to life. There were some challenges working on an undeveloped site, but I worked with the property owners to tackle any obstacles we faced.

The alley is scheduled to be completed and unveiled in Fall of 2021.