Transforming “The Big 9”


A few months back we were selected to transform and activate an historic underpass in Chattanooga TN. The underpass is located in the city’s legendary MLK neighborhood where some of the greatest musicians in history left their mark. 

From the early 1900s to the 1960s, Chattanooga was a destination for some of the best live rhythm and blues, jazz and soul in the South. Ninth Street in downtown Chattanooga – renamed Martin Luther King Blvd. In 1981 was the epicenter of the black community and a mecca for live music and entertainment, with a mix of shops, stores, restaurants and hotels. Known as “The Big 9,” the area was a hotbed for live blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and soul music.

Chattanooga TN

We were amazed to learn of the city’s rich musical past thanks to the influence of these extremely famous artists who hailed from and played on “the Big 9”. Their gift brought a musical heritage to Chattanooga that rivals Memphis’ Beale Street and New Orleans’ Bourbon Street.

Currently we are in the process of developing a concept that will include a light installation as the main component of the activation project. The challenge here is how to visually enhance and enliven the space through color and light while preserving the distinct character and culture of the neighborhood. 

Once we achieve both goals, this will become one of our most successful public art projects to date.

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