At the Metal Museum in Memphis, metal workers are literally forging bold artistic paths. Dedicated exclusively to the art and craft of fine metalwork, it’s the only museum of its kind in the country. A wide range of metalwork, sculpture and studio jewelry are on exhibit, but for many, the highlight is watching the resident metalsmiths at work. If you want to try your hand at it, classes in blacksmithing and welding are offered.
Sculpture Fields of Montague Park – Chattanooga
The Sculpture Fields at Montague Park is a graceful, 33-acre green space where art and nature converge, but it hasn’t always been so. Only a few years ago, the land was an eyesore, a deserted city dump on the south side of Chattanooga. Today, this once blighted area is a thriving arts hub with dozens of towering sculptures, many of them in colorful hues. Winding footpaths invite visitors to explore at their leisure.
1800 Polk St., Chattanooga. 423-266-7288, sculpturefields.org.
Knoxville Museum of Art — Knoxville
The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates the art of east Tennessee, but also houses a collection of internationally renowned artists. “Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee” is a permanent exhibit dedicated to the region’s artistic achievements. It’s worth the trip just to marvel at Richard Jolley’s monumental “Cycle of Life Installation,” a work that follows the cycle of life from youth to maturity with glass and steel scenes. If you visit on a Friday, stick around for Alive after Five. The town gets its groove on with live music and feasts on Southern specialties.
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