This work took a little bit of sleuthing because it is not labeled. It’s certainly not secret. It lies at 4th and Commerce, at the foot of the Batman Building (aka the AT&T Building), almost directly across the street from the Ryman Auditorium. Certainly, it’s well known to people who work downtown and has been seen by a lot of tourists, and in 2005 it was featured on the cover of the Nashville Business Directory. It turns out that it’s a creation of Lin Swensson, who happens to be the daughter of the architect who designed the AT&T Building, Earl Swensson of ESa. It’s thirty-five feet tall and was unveiled on October 12, 1994. As the Tennesse Department of Community and Economic Development was one of the building’s original tenants, the sculpture was meant to be an abstract representation of Tennessee’s economic growth. The best way to describe it is with the artist’s own words:
The design consists of a granite spire tapering at the top – around the spire is an image of the state of Tennessee. Out of the state of Tennessee image is a stainless ribbon representing energy emerging, twirling up to meet three kinetic rings representing the world.
The installation was quite a process that involved closing streets and heavy machinery. Swensson herself is apparently still sculpting, but based on her website, it appears her main focus now is healthcare art consulting.
This slideshow takes you on a clockwise walk around the sculpture.
Located at 333 Commerce Street. The sculpture is in a small well just off the corner of 4th and Commerece. There are benches where you can sit and observe the sculpture, or more likely, have lunch. This is downtown – lots of parking, almost none of it free.
December 2, 2020 at 12:11 pm
RIP – Lin Swensson
October 16, 2021 at 2:21 pm
Lin was my mom and would have loved this article! Thanks! I remember her building this piece in her studio (extension of our garage). My brother and I went and joined her at the install.
January 11, 2022 at 8:31 pm
Where did this go? It has been removed.
January 11, 2022 at 9:23 pm
I’m not sure. I noticed a few weeks ago it was missing. I’ll update the post. I’m on vacation from the blog right now, but I’ll see if I can find out what happened.
March 18, 2022 at 6:07 pm
It is was removed and is in storage at the AT&T loading dock. Not sure what its fate is.