Public Chooses City's Next Sculpture - “Chattanooga Music Man”

Thursday, July 5, 2012
"Chattanooga's Music Man"
"Chattanooga's Music Man"

Public Art Chattanooga and Chattanooga Parks and Recreation announced the winner, by public vote, of the North Chattanooga Community Public Art Project. Over 1,300 votes were tallied over a two-week period from the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, local merchants and social media. With nearly 50 percent of the vote, James Simon’s “Chattanooga Music Man” came away as the next piece to be added to the city's award-winning public art program.

"Dramatic, larger than life, unexpected, and elegant, the sculpture depicts a fiddler serenading to folks as they walk or drive by” said Artist James Simon of Pittsburgh.

“The fiddler ties into Chattanooga’s rich music and working class culture, both past and present. The music com- position creates a universal ambiance of remembrance of times past, joy for the present, and future."

Standing at over eight feet tall and four and half feet wide, the sculptures is first created in clay, and then with plaster molds which are casted in a special high strength, glass-fiber-reinforced architectural concrete.

“My concrete medium has been proven and tested; it’s long lasting, all weather hardy, tough and low maintenance” the artist said.

A four-foot concrete foundation is poured under the sculpture with rebar running from the foundation into the hollow sculpture. The piece is then half filled with concrete, permanently securing it to the foundation.

Over 75 artists nationwide submitted applications, three of which were presented as finalists for the community to vote on.  “Chattanooga Music Man” will be added to the city of Chattanooga’s permanent public art collection and installed at Woodland and Frazier on the grassy area in front of Walgreens by the end of October.

The Public Art Committee, which has raised the funds to commission this artwork, "is excited to celebrate the diversity and unique sense of community in the North Shore and provide this sculpture free of public funding," officials said.

Public Art Chattanooga, a division of the City of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department, is dedicated to introducing a wide variety of high quality public art into the community, enhancing the civic environment and enriching the lives of visitors and residents.

For more information contact Peggy Townsend at or visit

All Things North Shore is co-produced by Public Art Chattanooga and North Shore Fellowship.

For more information, visit

About the Artist: James Simon was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. He is a professionally-trained lutier and restorationist turned sculptor whose work has been interpreted as a fusion of High Renaissance technology, contemporary art, and primitive form. His extensive travels and rich experiences with other cultures and peoples give his work a unique, original, multicultural perspective.

He said, “What grounds my work is the belief that art is a celebratory experience that can create joy despite adverse conditions of social injustice, poverty, war. I came from a family that pulsed with music and dance (my father was a violinist, my mother a tap dancer).  When I graduated high school, I began extensively traveling the world.  I spent many years living in Brazil, Mexico, Australia and England.  The distinct, diverse experiences I had living and creating art in these cultures has shaped my approach to art thematically, stylistically, and in my choice of materials.  But what each of these cultures shared, and what is reflected in my sculptures, is the primal impulse towards creative expression that is situated in daily life and can serve to uplift the human spirit.”

For more information on the artist, visit

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