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Over the years several “trails” have been created in Alabama. It started with the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail two decades ago. We now have birding trails, a scenic river trail, quail trails, a bass trail and even a Hallelujah Trail (trail of churches to visit).
Quietly, without much fanfare, local Birmingham sculptor and installation artist Deedee Morrison has created a “public art trail,” from Orange Beach, Alabama to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Based in Birmingham at the old Republic Steel Mill, which is now Wade Sand and Gravel Quarry, Deedee Morrison draws her inspiration from the 600 million years of geological history that has been uncovered and surrounds her studio. Her work is influenced by her love and interest in the natural world and sustainable design. For example, many of her sculptures have incorporated solar-powered lighting.
Morrison’s work is on display throughout the country, from the earthy Pacific Northwest San Juan Islands in the state of Washington to America’s heartland in Oklahoma City. But over the past few years she has organically and gracefully “imprinted” a beautiful trail of public art on her home state.
Morrison has installed five major works of public art in Alabama and one just over the state line in Chattanooga on the banks of the Tennessee River. Her latest installation occurred in May in the city of Gadsden.
Here are links to photos and descriptions of Morrison’s “public art trail”:
Orange Beach - “Lighthouse” - Located on the grounds of the Orange Beach Arts Center
Fairhope - “A Matter of Fiction” - Located in front of the Fairhope Public Library
Daphne - “Luminosity” - Located in front of the Daphne Public Library
Chatom - “Caged Content” - Located at the Washington County Public Library
Gadsden – “Charm” – Located on Broad Street in downtown Gadsden
Chattanooga - “Seed Pod” - Located at Renaissance Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee
It is an impressive journey. Let’s hope Alabama can build on its “trail-making” reputation and develop a “Public Arts” trail in the likeness of Robert Trent Jones and all the other trails. Deedee Morrison’s work would be a good place to start.
by Pat Byington, editor of The Green Register