By Amy McRary of the Knoxville News Sentinel
Unlocked Memories,” a collaborated sculpture created by eight local artists, has a home at the Pat Summitt Foundation offices in downtown Knoxville.
The sculpture incorporates materials ranging from salvaged windows to rice paper to driftwood and metal as it focuses on Alzheimer’s disease.
The Pat Summitt Foundation is a part of the nonprofit East Tennessee Foundation. Summitt, the longtime former Lady Vols head basketball coach, announced in 2011 she has early onset dementia.
“Unlocked Memories” was made for an October 2015 exhibit at A1LabArts called “Chakra Windows.” Artists created works based on different chakras, or energy points, in the body.
The eight artists who made “Unlocked Memories” worked on illustrating the crown chakra at the crown of the head. As they began working on the project, participating artist Alan Finch suggested they focus on Alzheimer’s.
The finished sculpture resembles part tree, part window frame. Two central salvaged window frames were distressed and donated by artist Sher Hutchins. Each frame holds three small window panes.
Artist Neranza Noel Blount gathered art and words about memories from herself and five artists — Hutchins, Alan Finch, Darlene Finch, Ryan Blair and Shelley Mangold. Blount placed the material on rice paper soaked in encaustic, a medium that uses melted beeswax. The rice paper art was placed on the window frames and appears translucent when lit from behind, illustrating how fragile and fleeting memories can be.
Stephen R. Hicks added driftwood up and around the sculpture frame to illustrate neurons that travel through the brain. Mangold used alcohol inks to paint lines across the glass, window frame and driftwood. Blair built plywood cutouts painted violet and capped with yellow crowns.
Metalworker Preston Farabow formed the steel base that holds the sculpture. Darlene Finch, who does performance art under the name Anita, created an performance for the A1LabArts show in October.
When the show was finished, artists wanted to keep the work intact. Alan and Darlene Finch and Darlene Finch’s sister, Teresa Brady, purchased the sculpture to donate it to the Pat Summitt Foundation. All the artists donated their sales commission as well.