Commissioned by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Witness Walls features the vision of Oakland, Ca. artist Walter Hood. This art form commemorates Nashville's role in the historic Civil Rights Movement and is located in Public Square Park, which is steps away from a historic student-led protest in 1960 that led then-mayor to disavow segregation of the city’s lunch counters.
The artist’s design is a set of fragmented sculptural precast concrete walls inspired by the classical sculpted friezes commemorating heroic and mythical events in antiquity.
Walking among the walls, visitors are placed in the center of historic moments represented by photos from the collection of the local library’s Civil Rights Reading Room etched in precast concrete.
The artist designed a set of spatial experiences through the creation of several small rooms. Concrete exemplifies the 20th century and design intent was to use a ubiquitous ordinary material to refer to a specific time period.
Through the use of shadow and light, the heroes captured emerge and retreat along the walls with an invitation to not only touch the images, which seem to fade in and out of focus, but also to feel the spirit that something profound happened in this place.
The project received an award for Best Custom Solution using precaste concrete in the 2020 PCI Design Award competition.
Hood Design Studio, Inc.