JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A whimsical sculpture atop a roof in Limestone is among 14 that will take their places among Johnson City’s public art offerings in May.
“Caterpillarsaurus” is the product of Mike Helbing’s creative process and sits on the top of his garage for now. Johnson City Commissioners approved the public art committee’s 14 selections, the tendrilly silver piece will beckon the curious until May 2025.
“Little shop of horrors,” Helbing said of his process. “I just play.”
For every sculpture selected, the city pays the artist $2,000. All sculptures are on sale — for a range of prices — and if people buy they can choose to leave them in place after the two years or relocate them.
If purchased, buyers are encouraged to donate the work to the city for permanent display, which several sculptures downtown have.
The Johnson City Public Art Committee’s chairman said the group is pleased with the new offerings.
“The sculptures that we’ve selected, I think, are not only going to engage and introduce people to different kinds of art in different forms, but we also keep in mind these are for our community and reflect our community,” Michael Anthony Fowler told News Channel 11.
After an open call for submissions and review by the committee, a guest juror selected the new sculptures. The city and committee agree to publicize the exhibition on social media, the Johnson City Public Art website and Facebook.
Artist agreements also note the city “will make good faith efforts to encourage sales.”
Helding says the idea for Caterpillarsaurus came from a model and grew from there.
“I don’t like to pre-conceive,” Helding said. “Mostly it’s the idea and then work with the idea and let serendipity take over sometimes.”
The piece is among a group Fowler described as “really diverse.”
“Some are representational. Some are abstract. Some are really whimsical. Some are serious so really I think there’s going to be something for everyone,” Fowler said.
The sculptures will be installed by June 1.
More information on the new slate of art, including photos of each sculpture, is in this section of the city commission’s agenda packet.