Loqui: Illuminating Nashville’s Community Voice

Nashville's Fairgrounds welcomes Loqui, a monumental, interactive sculpture.

Metro Arts has embarked on a visionary project that promises to transform The Fairgrounds Nashville into a beacon of community expression and artistic innovation. On Thursday, March 7, the installation of Loqui, a groundbreaking public art piece, began, heralding a new chapter in Nashville’s public art scene. Designed by the renowned sculptor Blessing Hancock, Loqui is not just a sculpture but a monumental, illuminated megaphone that stands 32 feet in height and width. This impressive structure is set to light up the night with vibrant color patterns, thanks to its sophisticated lighting system.

Loqui, which translates to “to speak” in Latin, is a celebration of Nashville’s enduring storytelling tradition. It aims to be a focal point for public interaction, incorporating words and sentiments from the local community into its very fabric. Blessing Hancock, the artist behind this ambitious project, shared her inspiration drawn from Nashville’s spirit of kindness and unity. “Above all, people here are kind to each other. We uplift one another and come together to help our neighbors out when they need it the most,” Hancock reflected on the feedback received during the community engagement process.

Hancock, who has an impressive portfolio of over 50 public and private sculptures worldwide, considers Loqui to be her largest and most significant work to date. She is currently working on seven public art installations across the United States, but Loqui stands out for its scale and the depth of its community engagement.

The Fairgrounds Nashville, a sprawling 117-acre site just south of downtown, has long been a hub of culture, community, and economic growth. The installation of Loqui is expected to enhance this reputation, serving as a mirror to the community’s values and aspirations.

The journey to bring Loqui to life began in July 2019 with an open call to artists. After a thorough review by community panelists and subsequent approval by the Metro Arts Commission in October 2019, work commenced in early 2020. The project is slated for a grand public unveiling and dedication in the summer of 2024.

Councilmember Terry Vo, representing District 17 where The Fairgrounds is located, has been closely involved with Loqui since its inception. Vo, who served as one of the community panelists, expressed anticipation for the sculpture’s completion, envisioning it as a testament to Nashville’s collective voice and identity. “This sculpture stands as a testament to our community’s collective voice, forging connections among us as neighbors and celebrating our shared identity,” said Vo.

Metro Arts, Nashville’s Office of Arts + Culture, is at the forefront of this initiative, driven by its mission to foster a vibrant and equitable community through the arts. With support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Metro Arts continues to ensure that all Nashvillians have access to a creative life, whether through community investments, public art, or various arts and culture programs.

As the installation of Loqui progresses, Metro Arts invites the public to follow the journey through their social media channels and email newsletter, offering a unique insight into the creation of what promises to be one of Nashville’s most significant public art landmarks.

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