Sights and sounds to behold with proposed downtown soundscape

Sights and sounds to behold with proposed downtown soundscape
Sights and sounds to behold with proposed downtown soundscape | Martin soundscape project

A THING OF BEAUTY TO LAST A LIFETIME – The proposed “sculpture soundscape” envisioned by UT Martin student Joel Flowers would be a larger than life work of playable art. The goal is raise enough money to build the project in the heart of downtown Ma

A THING OF BEAUTY TO LAST A LIFETIME – The proposed “sculpture soundscape” envisioned by UT Martin student Joel Flowers would be a larger than life work of playable art. The goal is raise enough money to build the project in the heart of downtown Martin – Festival Park. If his vision comes to fruition, the sculpture soundscape would be the second of its kind in Tennessee. Sketch and design by Jason Stout

While the project is phased for two years in the making, the lasting effects can be life long across the region.

It has taken the vision of a University of Tennessee at Martin student and a collaboration of community partners and those involved will leave a permanent stamp in downtown Martin.

UTM broadcasting major Joel Flowers, 21, said the idea behind his University Scholars project is to create “playable art” for the young and young at heart to enjoy generation after generation. 

The proposed metal exhibit can create sounds in a variety of ways. The first and most natural way to create sound would be from wind, according to Flowers. Another way to create sound is by moving the suspended inner workings of the sculpture against one another and a third way to create sound would be by striking parts of the sculpture.

Once the project is complete, it could be a permanent, interactive fixture in downtown Martin.

Not only would the Martin community be enhanced by the project, but very few “sculpture soundscapes” grace communities across the nation. The closest replica is located in Chattanooga, which is what Flowers said peaked his inspiration for the project.

“I saw one in Chattanooga in 2008 while visiting a friend and I wondered why there isn’t one in every park in the nation. I told myself that I want that here and I made it my goal to get one in downtown Martin,” Flowers noted.

Typically, a University Scholars project involves the field of the student’s choice, but Flowers said he is not a music or science major.

“I didn’t want to do the bare minimum to get by and graduate with this project. I am not a science or math person. I wanted the project that I chose to have an impact. I always had a thing for music. I appreciate it for what it is, but I am not technical about it,” Flowers noted.

When asked why he chose the City of Martin’s downtown Festival Park as a location for the sculpture soundscape, Flowers said that a University Scholars project is designed as a community service and he didn’t understand why more projects don’t involve the community.

With a soundscape located in downtown Martin, the goals are to enhance the historic area, create a regional impact and enhance tourism for the community – things that the young college student feels are well within reach with the project.

“I want to leave Martin saying that I did something to impact the community in a positive way because I am proud of getting my education here,” Flowers added.

The broadcasting major has enlisted the help of local welder John Null to help implement the design. Null has created numerous sculptures by manipulating metal and his work can be found across the nation.

UTM visual arts professor Jason Stout designed the sketch of the proposed soundscape.

Flowers said he has the full support of the Martin Historical Business District, the Martin Business Association and the City of Martin for the project.

From now until May, Flowers and his partners will be searching anywhere and everywhere to help raise funding for the soundscape. 

The bulk of the money needed is for the metal that will be used to construct the 20 feet by 20 feet “playable art” structure that will be broken down into three pieces of art.

“The goal is to get the metal donated so that we are only left trying to raise $3-4,000 to actually build the soundscape. I am hoping for donations from local businesses to accomplish this so that the people in this community can actually put their stamp on it as well,” Flowers shared.

Once the funding is secured, Null can begin bringing the sketch to life within a matter of weeks and the City of Martin would secure a work of art right in the heart of downtown that is both a sight and sound to behold.

“A friend of mine likened it to a Disney® movie, where kids love it, but parents also enjoy it too,” Flowers added.

To find out how to contribute to the project, contact Flowers at 1-931-249-4791 or by email at joedflow@yahoo.com.

There is also a Facebook page – City of Martin Sculpture Soundscape – dedicated to the project. Flowers asked community members to join the page and offer tips and suggestions. He will use the social networking site to post progress reports and secured donations for the project. 

wcp 2/22/11

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