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  • Writer's pictureMason Edwards!

Sculpture Gardens Future Determined by Sports or Arts

By Mason Edwards: Staff Writer for the University Echo

The Sculpture Fields is home to several different large-scale artworks. One of these includes Peter Lundberg's 65-foot tall piece, Anchors. Friday, August 27, 2021. (Photo by Oliver Lampley)

Sculpture Fields was at a dispute with the Chattanooga Football Club (CFC) over a 13 acre land lot and whether it would be used for the arts or practice fields. 

The outdoor abstract art museum has gotten praise for the art it inhibits, but a recent Chattanooga City Council 7-2 decision on Aug. 24 favored CFC’s plans for new practice fields, a state-of-the-art lighting system, parking area and a restroom facility.

Understanding the empty lot to be theirs, officials for Sculpture Fields had their own plans for an empty lot next to their park. Their multi-million-dollar plan included new art pieces, an amphitheater and a welcome center. 

Several local news outlets picked up the story, hinting that Sculpture Fields was not aware of the CFC’s plans at all. According to the Chattanoogan, Bill Robinson—secretary of the board of Sculpture Fields, who learned about the lease from the news— asked that a decision be deferred to be able to discuss the lease with the Chattanooga City Council. 

The Chattanooga Rugby teams often utilize Montague Park's field for their practices and games. The addition of the lot for athletic reasons would likely benefit the sports group. Saturday, May 1, 2021. (Photo by Olivia Ross)

Several students at UTC supported the Sculpture Fields plans for the lot, including Junior Becky Grose, who is an exercise science major.

“I honestly would want the amphitheater,” Grose said. “There’s so much you could do there, you could do fundraisers, theater events or concerts and it would fit in with the sculptures.”

Freshman Caton Taylor, a theatre major, also advocated for Sculpture Field’s plan.

“I think it would be a great outdoor theatre venue, especially as COVID-19 continues to be an issue,” Taylor said. “Not even just for UTC Theater, just for all the different companies and community groups to have that kind of space would be good.”

Regardless, some students like Parker Highsmith, a freshman on the golf team, wanted for the fields to be built.

“Give it to the CFC, we already have plenty of art pieces and museums in downtown Chattanooga,” Highsmith said. “Rugby has already been practicing there, so I would let them get the first pick.”

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