Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity is one of the largest figurative glass-and-steel assemblages in the world. Commissioned in 2009 especially for the Knoxville Museum of Art, it is a game-changer for the KMA in a number of important ways. First, it reveals Richard’s exceptional artistic rigor and vision—an aesthetically stunning masterwork that is also an engineering marvel. Cycle of Life is also emblematic of the KMA’s commitment to the art of the region and to collecting the work of contemporary artists of international repute. Thanks to our exceptional board of trustees, generous supporters, community leaders, and dedicated staff, we are able to present Richard’s magnificent sculpture in a refurbished and expanded facility. The 25th Anniversary Campaign funded the comprehensive $6 million renovation of the museum and its campus, added to the operating endowment, and established a dedicated art acquisition fund. We are grateful to campaign chair Stuart Worden and the hundreds of donors who have made this significant investment at this critical juncture in our history. Now the museum’s landmark Edward Larrabee Barnes building glows like new and provides a fitting setting for Richard’s magnum opus. We are profoundly grateful to Ann and Steve Bailey, whose extraordinary generosity inspired Richard to ‘dream big’ (monumentally, in this case). They have immeasurably enriched the KMA experience for our visitors, and provided a new must-see highlight amid the region’s cultural offerings. In appreciation, the KMA Board of Trustees renamed the Great Hall—the Ann and Steve Bailey Hall—in their honor.
The comprehensive renovation of the KMA's landmark Clayton Building begins in early 2013 with the cleaning of the exterior. The cleaning crew uses dry ice to pressure wash the Tennessee marble, restoring its original beauty and allowing the pink undertones to show through.
Once the cleaning is complete, crews take on the tedious job of re-caulking the entire building and replacing all the rubber gaskets around every marble panel. This allows for a nice tight waterproof seal along the exterior of the building.
Demolition of the museum's entry plaza and the third floor terrace begins. This is a noisy process as crews use jackhammers and bulldozers to remove the existing concrete pavers.
After the removal of the concrete pavers, the areas are sloped and waterproofed. New drains are added and the area will be weather stripped and sealed before laying the beautiful new granite pavers.
An alternate entrance is created. Museum visitors and staff enter through the gate on the North side of the building.
This phase of the work should be completed in late-July 2013 allowing the public to enter once again through the main entrance on World’s Fair Park Drive.
The front plaza continues to take shape as the new stainless steel planters are installed. Each planter weighs 3,000 pounds and will be filled with trees, shrubs, and flowers.
Old doors are removed from the front of the KMA. The front exterior doors as well the front interior doors are being replaced. New doors will enhance the beautiful new look of the front plaza.
Work on the North Garden begins!
Renovations move inside. Work begins to replace the water-stained terrazzo floors.
October was a busy month with work happening in multiple locations. Resurfacing of the gallery floors takes place. New Terrazzo floors on the main level are in the making. Concrete is poured in North Garden. The Creative Corner (kids area) is being completely renovated with walls removed and new carpeting. Painting of the exterior walls facing World’s Fair Park gives the back of the museum a new sparkle. And work in the Great Hall continues with fittings for the “Cycle of Life.”
Work in the main lobby continues in November in preparation of the museum reopening at the end of the month. Vestibule and Terrazo floors are nearly complete. The view from across World’s Fair Park shows a newly cleaned and painted building.
At the end of 2013, major progress can be seen in the North Garden as well as the downstairs restrooms. The North Garden is being leveled and sculpured into place. As winter comes to an end and spring begins, the garden will transform with new plantings and greenery.
(North Garden images provided by Jonathan Hash)
January and February brought more updates to the North Garden. Workers endured sub-freezing temperatures, as well as snow and ice, but still managed to get the patios poured for the outdoor seating area. Additionally, the entrance to the North Garden is being leveled so visitors will no longer have to walk down a steep slope from the parking lot into the garden. Trees were planted and finishing touches are being added throughout the space.
Project complete! The North Garden is now a beautiful and functional garden space for visitors to enjoy. It is also a great space for events at the museum. The museum is sparkling both inside and out. Please come visit us to see this beautiful transformation. Thank you for your support!