Bulger's Beat: State bird art helps mark Shelby Park centennial - WSMV News 4

Bulger's Beat: State bird art helps mark Shelby Park centennial

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Nashville's Shelby Park turns 100 in a few weeks, and to celebrate it is getting a beautiful birthday present.

Lawrence Argent is a master of public art. The pieces he creates get people talking, and considering what he has done for Nashville, it might just get people singing his praise.

In a city known for song and a state represented by a sweet sounding bird, maybe it is time the mockingbird got its place in the sun.

"I think it's gonna be great once it's finished here. Not too long away," Argent said.

After six months of creating and wondering if his big bird idea would work, and Australian artist likes what he sees.

The state bird is the centerpiece on a 100-year birthday present to Shelby Park. Black Chinese granite, stainless steel and titled reflections offer curious ways to get a peak at the beak.

It's a concept designed to provoke thought, or not.

"You get an experience that enlightens you in a particular way," Argent said.

Argent's work has been enlightening people for years, though they may be hard to explain until they're finished and beautiful - like a hopping, red bunny in Sacramento, or Denver's over-sized curious bear.

"Yeah, it seems ridiculous. Three years of working on it, and people say, 'you're working on a 40-foot-blue bear.' I don't know, but when it goes in, it's a different story," Argent said.

That story is already getting reaction in Music City, where Shelby's mockingbird is set for the next century with no plans to fly away.

"Yes, and even in the flood, I hope it'll be surviving, sitting in the water. It will look like a duck," Argent said.

Shelby Park's formal 100th birthday party takes place Saturday, Oct. 13, when all of the landscaping that surrounds the bird will be as beautiful as the great park.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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