Public Art in the Upper Cumberland

brought to you by Art Round Tennessee in partnership with the city of Cookeville

Sculptures in Cane Creek Park
  • "The Tommy Thomas" interactive percussive bike rack by artist Brad Sells, created with Tommy's bicycle in his memory
  • Turtle Sculpture by artist David Fricke
  • Praying Mantis by artist Marilee Hall
Sculptures along the Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail
Washington Ave. / 12th St. Entrance
"Awesome Fred Eagle"- weathervane & bike rack sculpture, a collaborative effort of artists Abe Pardee, Brad Sells, David Fricke, & Marilee Hall with Stone Steel
The Depot in Cookeville's WestSide
Banjo bike rack by artists Brad Sells, David Fricke, and Emma Levitz. Bike donated by musician Jack Sallee
SPOKES bike arch sculpture

Spurred by the vision of well-known and respected sculptor Brad Sells and a commitment by the City of Cookeville, Art Round Tennessee (ART) chose to embark on its first permanent and public art installation, "Spokes," in 2016. The sculpture — a 36-foot-wide, 14-foot-tall arch of bicycles — spans the street-side entrance to Putnam County's new Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail. The site (116-162 W. Broad St.) is the most visible location in the West Side, Cookeville's historic downtown district.

Public sculpture is a major goal of ART, which had tried for years to manifest a project of this scale, but previously found the work to be too expensive with too few partners. Brad's talent and generosity -- in donating his skills as project artist and director -- and ART's pledge to take full financial and administrative responsibility for the project struck exactly the right note with the city. Cookeville has aggressively built a performing arts infrastructure for decades, but this is the first time it has granted permission to a nonprofit to design, build and install sculptural art on public property.

This partnership -- ART's leadership, the city's new interest in public art, and the Rail Trail Authority's eagerness to be the proving grounds -- paved the way for public art to begin in this community. Spokes is a pragmatic art concept in design, function and intent.