An Art History Scavenger Hunt in the City

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018

A lot of us have found ourselves in similar predicaments in recent days: An extra child or two is lurking about underfoot when they, by all rights, should be at school. Whether because of ice, snow, extreme cold, flu or teacher work-days, there they were. Sure, Urban Girl, like so many of your children, would just as soon veg-out all day in front of an electronic screen of some sort, but we want more for their little minds, right?

And so it was, yesterday found Urban Girl hanging out in the city once more. Thanks to a fluke of nature, or climate change, perhaps, the 20th of February went down as one of the warmest in our history, with temperatures topping out around seventy degrees. The day also offered a rare glimpse at the sun for our water-logged region.

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018 (Photo by Urban Girl)

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018

All of which led to a perfect opportunity to explore the city. It’s hard to impress Urban Girl with a walk in downtown Knoxville, since she’s been trudging around these city streets with me her entire eight-year-old life. But the girl loves a good scavenger hunt. And the Knoxville History Project provided me with just the perfect object of our search: their art wraps have expanded quickly and are now found at nine locations around the city.

Now full disclosure: they have a map on their site and I peeked ahead of time. Don’t tell Urban Girl. She thinks she found them all coincidentally as we walked in “random” directions. I handed her a camera, described what we were looking for and we went about our search.

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018 (Photo by Urban Girl)

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018

There are so many good things about this effort by the Knoxville History Project, that it’s hard to know where to start. They take an unfortunate and ugly reality – traffic engineering boxes – and transform them to something beautiful or interesting, or both. They teach us the history of the city and of its art and artists. They promote the Knoxville Museum of Art where most of the works shown may be found. And they beat screen-time as a way to pass a lovely day in the city.

Throwing in a camera added another twist. Urban Girl practiced her shooting skills, though not exclusively on our target. When she shouted, “Squirrel!,” she wasn’t imitating someone who struggles with attention issues, she was literally attempting to photograph squirrels – without irony. Of course she had to photograph “Rowing Man,” flowers, Ice Bear banners and other objects of interest along the way.

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018 (Photo by Urban Girl)

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018 (Photo by Urban Girl)

Knoxville History Project Art Wraps, Knoxville, February 2018

But I think she really took something away from the exercise about art and history. She got a kick, for example, after shooting the art wrap featuring Albert Milani sculpting his eagles, when she turned around and saw them atop the Supreme Court Building. We discussed abstract and impressionist art. She ultimately decided she liked the Charles Krutch work on Krutch Park even though she didn’t know what it was, at first. She also learned about marble and quarries.

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A North Knoxville Business Grows and Expands

Rendering, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Rendering, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

It was just over a year ago I introduced readers to KyBRa Athletics and owners David and Sue Finney. It’s been a very good year for the business which is located at 800 North Broadway, just between Elkmont Exchange (across the street) and Architectural Antics. The business is set to upgrade its facilities and double in size.

Since beginning their lease, the building has changed hands and the new owners secured a facade grant from the city, allowing major changes to the building’s exterior. Additionally, a major investment is being made on the inside, incorporating an additional 2,000 square feet for the public space of the business and about another 1200 square feet for upstairs office space.

 

Rendering, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Architectural Drawing, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Architectural Drawing, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Smee + Busby Architects and lead architect Chris King did the design for both the outside and the inside. Changes for the outside include bringing recessed portion of the front of the building in line with the most prominent part, resulting in the entire building fronting the sidewalk. A bay door will be installed on the new portion of the facade, allowing the new work out space to be open-air in good weather.

The aluminum on the portion of the building currently in use will be maintained and the new portion of the facade will also use the material. The external brick, which has multiple layers of paint, will be re-painted to fit the new color-scheme. They hope to maintain the small section of stained glass at the top of the current front of the building.

Current Workout Space Before Upgrade, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Current Workout Space Before Upgrade, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Current Workout Space Before Upgrade, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Current Workout Space Before Upgrade, KyBRa, 800 North Broadway, Knoxville, February 2018

Like many older buildings, this one has been adapted over the years. The front portion appears to be just over 100 years old, while the rear portion is likely around 70 years old. The interior ceilings on each side will be stripped to reveal the beams as has been done on the side currently under construction, making for higher and more attractive ceilings. Equipment will be doubled and a turf surface will be added to one side and sleds will be purchased.

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Downtown Knoxville Ten Day Planner (2/18 – 2/27/2018)

If you want to be certain your event is included on this calendar, I’ll need your event two weeks in advance. The absolute best way to make sure I include your event is to make a FB event and invite me – two weeks in advance. My FB “events” are the … [Continue reading]

Construction Photos and Updates: Tombras, Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn, Crozier and Stockyard Lofts

There seemed to be enough interest in yesterday's photographs and updates regarding current and planned construction to warrant another pass at it, don't you think? Interest is great and there are so many projects that following that alone could be a … [Continue reading]

Construction Photos and Updates: Regas Square, Mews II, Vine Avenue Rowhouses

Rendering for Regas Square Condos

Between the bone-chilling cold we had a few weeks ago and the seemingly constant rain we've had since, you may not have noticed that construction is continuing on several projects we've discussed on this website. I took a walk around downtown and … [Continue reading]