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Since the early 1990s, artist Chakaia Booker has been creating elaborate sculptures made of recycled tires to make statements on human diversity, environmental awareness, globalization, industrialization, and other topics.

One of her recycled tire sculptures, titled Renegade, currently stands in Cradle of Country Music Park at the corner of Knoxville’s Gay Street and Summit Hill Drive. It was installed during the summer of 2018 as part of the Art in Public Places exhibition hosted by Dogwood Arts.

Chakaia Booker
Chakaia Booker

Now the Knoxville community will have a chance to meet and hear from Booker as she visits Knoxville for the 2018 Mid-South Sculpture Alliance (MSA) conference, being hosted October 4–7 by the UT School of Art.

In a pre-conference event that’s free and open to the public, Booker and master printer Justin Sanz from the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop will be working on a set of mono prints October 1–3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the UT Printshop, located in Room 241 of the Art and Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Boulevard.

Booker’s keynote address during the conference will begin at 3 p.m. on October 5 at the Knoxville Museum of Art, 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive.

Following her talk, an opening reception for Booker will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the UT Downtown Gallery, 106 South Gay Street. Both events are free and open to the public.

Booker’s solo exhibition will be on display at the Downtown Gallery October 4–27.

The three-day conference, featuring works by Booker and several other artists, will include a wide array of activities, with talks and lectures which are free and open to the public as well as workshops, demonstrations, and mentoring sessions that require registration and a fee.

Held in conjunction with the conference will be the UT Alumni Sculpture Exhibition at Ewing Gallery, curated by UT alumnus and artist Bill FitzGibbons. In 2010, FitzGibbons was honored by the university with the Outstanding Alumni Award. The exhibition, which opens September 16 and runs through October 7, will feature sculptures by 25 other alumni of the UT Sculpture program.

For more information about the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance Conference, including a full event schedule and a map of venues, visit the MSA website.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Jorden Albright (