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The University of Tennessee community is invited to a dedication event for the new sculpture on the UT Knoxville campus on Friday, Sept. 11. The artist, Alice Aycock, and the donor, alumnus Wilton D. “Chick” Hill, will speak at the ceremony, alongside UT Knoxville Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Martin.

The event starts at 10:15 a.m. on the Johnson-Ward Pedestrian Mall, near the Clarence Brown Theatre. Free public parking is reserved at the University Center garage.

Titled “A Startling Whirlwind of Opportunity,” the 25-foot tall swirling, spiral form, which consists of curved aluminum and lighting elements, conveys the energy Aycock sensed from the site, an area that hundreds of college students walk through daily. The UT Public Art Selection Committee, made up of faculty, students, administrators and Knoxville-area artists, commissioned Aycock after reviewing the work of approximately 220 applicants.

Aycock has exhibited in major museums and galleries in the Americas, Europe, and Japan, and her work is found in major collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her sculptures can be found in major U.S. cities such as New York City, San Francisco, Nashville, Dallas and Philadelphia.

“We are fortunate to have commissioned such a world-renowned and gifted artist to sculpt this piece,” said Jason Brown, associate professor in the School of Art. “Alice Aycock’s pieces have been in cities, museums and galleries around the world. Having one of her sculptures in Knoxville places us among some of the most innovative and forward-thinking cities in the country.”

Hill’s gift was used to support the artist commissioning efforts and installation of the sculpture. The process was facilitated by the School of Art.

Hill, a Memphis resident and owner of the Davidson Hotel Co., was not an art student while at UT but throughout his adult life has cultivated a love of art, which he wanted to share with current UT students, faculty and staff. He received an engineering degree in 1973.

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam declared the week of Sept. 7 Public Art Week in Knoxville. Several events leading up to the dedication on Saturday will be held throughout the week. More information about this week’s events can be found at


Aycock has spent much of her nearly 40-year career creating works of site-specific art. Her earlier pieces usually consisted of wood, stone and earth. In the 1980s, she began to move into metal mediums, such as steel and aluminum.

She received a bachelor of arts from Douglass College and a master of arts from Hunter College in New York. She has received numerous awards including four National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. For more information about Aycock and her work, visit