“Learning Curve” was commissioned by the Public Art Committee and executed through a partnership with Kingsport Tomorrow. Lynn Basa from Chicago, Illinois is the lead artist and designer. The site specific work provides benches and a shade canopy along a curving and expanding path. Materials used in production of the piece reference the traditional materials manufactured in Kingsport including, brick and concrete. The bricks for the piece were re-purposed from several buildings of the historic Kingsport Press. The shade canopy features Eastman Chemical Company’s latest monomer ‘Tritan’ in vibrant hues of blue, yellow and orange. The shade canopy casts a shadow on surrounding area as the sun shines through. The pattern of the canopy reflects the historic design of Kingsport’s center of town as designed by planner John Nolen in 1917. Likewise the paving pattern in the sidewalk plaza references the path of education leading to broadened horizons. The installation was completely crafted by Kingsport artists including Appalachian Ironworks, Limestone Masonry and Solid Living Design.
In her proposal Lynn Basa commented, “materials are symbolic, that’s why, for Kingsport, I would like to create an artwork that weds the town’s past with its present and future. One of the first things that clued me in to the fact that Kingsport was no ordinary small town was when I came upon the 1919 street plan [designed by John Nolen], as elegant and rational as any world capital. As I researched further, it became evident that a direct line can be drawn between the strategic thinking of Kingsport’s leaders 100 years ago in creating the country’s first modern industrial town plan and the 2001 ‘Educate and Grow’ initiative as a solution to the changing economy – well in advance, it should be noted, of today’s economic crisis.” Basa has designed public art projects throughout the United States including The Great Circle Route, terrazzo, ceramic mosaic and fiber art in the Indianapolis Airport; Glendale, Arizona History Walk, glass mosaic; Grove Mosaic and Shade Canopy, glass mosaic and laser-cut aluminum; among many others. Basa is also the author of The Artist’s guide to Public Art and is a regular instructor for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Kingsport Public Art Committee was able to announce completion of this public art installation piece in 2010, through Kingsport’s Percent for Art for the Kingsport Higher Education Center and surrounding Academic Village. Location: the corner of Clay and Market Streets and at the Kingsport Higher Education Center.