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Smith Springs Community Center Public Art Project

Project Updates

Artist Herb Williams has worked with the Smith Springs Community Center design team to determine the best way to hang his sculpture concept, Sky Lake, in the interior lobby of the center. Pending approval of the structural design, Herb Williams will begin fabrication of the sculpture and will begin coordinating an installation schedule with the project managers of the project. The construction team at the community center is planning to start punch list items in March of this year.

About the Artist Selection

A selection panel composed of community members, Metro representatives, artists and design professionals reviewed more than 35 submissions; from those 35+ artists, the panel selected four semi-final artists to interview. At the end of the interview process, the selection panel recommended that Herb Williams be selected as the final artist for the project. Herb Williams moved to Nashville in the late 1990s and has since dedicated his life to becoming a significant contributor to the growing art community in Nashville. As a member of Metro Arts 2016 Learning Lab cohort, Herb has set out a goal to create more community-based artwork.

About the Project

sky lake hanging sculpture concept

Construction is currently underway at 2801 Smith Springs Road for a new 15-acre park and community center in the Southeast Nashville community (Smith Springs Park and Community Center). As one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the Greater Nashville area, the Southeast community takes pride in its open space and greenery and those characteristics are reflected in the plans for the project. The community center will serve a diverse constituency and will be a place where citizens and visitors can organize, exercise, congregate and relax. With plans for a swimming pool, gymnasium and workout room, there will be plenty of indoor activity. However, with Percy Priest Lake just around the corner, the community center will also reflect the importance of nature in the community, as it will be surrounded by a woodsy area and park that promotes outdoor recreational activities with features like walking trails and a playground.

Artist Herb Williams engaged with community members to discover the history of the Smith Springs community and was able to use the stories from community members to inform the design for Sky Lake, a hanging sculpture concept. 

Community History

A historically rural area, the Southeast Nashville community saw signs of suburbanization in the 1960s and 70s. J. Percy Priest Dam was built in the 1960’s creating Percy Priest Lake, a popular reservoir which is the main attraction in the community bringing local citizens and regional guests to the neighborhood. The development of the Hickory Hollow Mall in the 1970’s also brought a lot of new citizens into the community. With these new additions, the community experienced economic growth through the 1990s leading to a housing boom in the 90s and early 2000s. With a very scattered pattern of development in the area, the community is now very dependent on vehicles for travel and struggles with traffic because of a lack of street planning during early development. Recently, the community has entered into a process of rejuvenation with new developments to the Hickory Hollow Mall area and the construction of a new park and community center at Southeast. With a variety of new opportunities and strategies for growth in the area, the community is looking to boost its economy and provide more resources for its citizens. The community’s plan calls for a more mixed use and walkable neighborhood. As the community continues to grow, especially in a variety of populations and in families with children, Smith Springs Community Center will allow citizens to access resources in their community that they might otherwise have to travel further for.


If you have any questions about the project or if you might be interested in speaking with the artist about the project, please email Tré Hardin, Public Art Coordinator.