*Art Spark Winner*

Artwork / Friday, May 8th, 2020

Art Spark is a program of River City Company in Chattanooga and it covers downtown traffic signal boxes with art designs (printed on vinyl) from area artists. You can read more about other artist designs here. I discovered their “Call For Artists” on social media a few months ago and decided to apply.

Below is the image I sent along with my proposal packet. I knew my final image wouldn’t be the same as this one and if the chose my they’d be taking a big chance since none of us could know what the final design would look like until it was completed.

As part of the proposal packet I had to list previous public art installations I have had…I haven’t had any. I had to give three references…none of mine are in the area.I also had to describe my artwork’s ability to tell a story and explain how my artwork would enhance the quality of the community. I’m not really good at this but I pulled from my previous grant writing experience and did the best I could.

This was a LOT of focused attention (#adhdnightmares) on my part but I did it and I told myself whether I won or not I’d be proud of myself for finishing the packet. Next, I needed to find inspiration for my artwork-in case my artwork is chosen!

Art in Downtown Chattanooga, TN
Hi. My name is. What? My name is. What? My name is…nevermind

The fun part was walking around the city exploring the work of other artists from the first round of utility boxes.

Hi. I’m Batman.
Layers of sediment.
speaks for itself

When I started my walk downtown I knew the nature (no pun intended) of my artwork could bring some joy to the concrete jungle but I still wasn’t sure the purpose or how to make it something relatable.

Nature will always win

But, as usual, I was inspired by what I noticed…plant life popping up everywhere, despite whether there was concrete poured over it or manmade posts in the way. I saw nature prevailing. Unfortunately, urban sprawl can keep us out of touch with nature and research shows that can be detrimental our health in so many ways.


I couldn’t believe it when I read the email that I was chosen to put my art on one of the utility boxes! Along with this opportunity came a $1,000 grant, which was such a blessing! I hope that my art gives people a pause and reminds people to stop and “smell the roses”.

…and after!

I titled this piece “Urban Growth” and it was the first large format (32X36) cyanotype print I’ve completed. (If you are local and want to check it out it’s on the corner of S. Highlands and Bailey Ave.)

I am grateful for this opportunity because it allowed me to grow in ways I didn’t expect. Before this piece I’d never done a print on such a large scale and since then I have completed two others of the same scale and I am excited to do more! I also decided to split the original image into two framed pieces. I gave one to my awesome realtor as a gift and I’m keeping the other one for myself.

“Urban Growth” Pt. I and II

I will be making cards with this print on it in the future. I have to design special text for the back (per the contract) that tells about the art being part of a larger project. If you want to check out the new stuff I’ve added to my website click HERE.

* If you are interested in purchasing any cards message me privately and I can send you photos. I have a LOT of new cards (handmade and printed) and haven’t had the chance to post them on my site yet.

Thank you for reading!

~ Carmen