Sound studio

Visual and Sound Rocking Installation, “Rock the Riverfront” Comes to Downtown Chattanooga

RiverCity officials are bringing to the downtown Chattanooga riverfront an interactive art installation of 15 huge seesaws that light up and create sound when used.

The swing, coupled with a month of events and activities dubbed ‘Rock the Riverfront’, is an effort to help achieve one of the goals of the new downtown waterfront plan to attract more people In the region.

“It’s one of the first tangible things to see,” Dawn Hjelseth, vice president of marketing and communications for the nonprofit Downtown Redevelopment Group, said in an interview last week.

Called Impulse, the attraction will be free and open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from March 4 through April 3, according to River City.

The giant light rockers range in size from 16 to 24 feet in length. The interactive exhibit will take place in Chattanooga Green Park on Riverfront Parkway next to the Tennessee Aquarium. When set in motion by users, the rockers react and transform with light and sound.

Hjelseth said Impulse has been exhibited in 45 cities around the world on four continents, including New York, Boston, Detroit, London and Brisbane. Chattanooga will be the smallest city for the show so far and the first in the central southeast.

“We’re very happy this is coming to Chattanooga,” Hjelseth told the Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp., which last week approved the idea and use of the park.

Brent Goldberg, the city’s chief financial officer and president of Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp., said the exhibit was unique.

“Kids will love it,” he said.

A woman takes her turn on an Impulse swing between 37th and 38th streets in New York on January 24, 2020. The set of playground-inspired contraptions, known as Impulse, is the latest installation in the program of year-long public art of the Garment District Alliance. (Benjamin Norman/The New York Times)

Meanwhile, Rock the Riverfront will offer weekend events including music, art vendors and performances highlighting various cultures and riverfront history, according to River City.

A health and wellness weekend, Rock ‘N Cheer for the Chattanooga Marathon, a St. Patrick’s Day family celebration, and an artists’ market featuring items from the Eastern Cherokee Band are among the planned events. .

Emily Mack, president and CEO of River City, said the ONE Riverfront planning process that ended last year drew input from more than 2,300 Chattanoogans to revitalize the waterfront.

“There has been an overwhelming response for events and activities held on the Chattanooga Green that are free to the community and provide a fun weekday and weekend atmosphere for families,” she said in a statement.

Mack said Impulse and the artists’ performances will allow River City to test concepts that could lead to permanent changes at the riverside.

Hjelseth said River City continues to work with the city and others on proposals in the waterfront plan such as attracting more affordable housing and businesses, redesigning Broad Street into a better pedestrian corridor, the improving public space and refreshing the Riverwalk.

The waterfront plan offered the biggest remake of the waterfront in nearly two decades. Hjelseth said River City has already held events to revitalize the riverfront. While the riverside has fallen behind in recent years, other parts of the city center such as the Southside and The Bend is generating a lot of interest and development.

Hjelseth declined to say how much it would cost to bring Impulse to Chattanooga, but added that a variety of event sponsors are contributing to the expo and Rock the Riverfront. No city money will go to the exhibit, Goldberg said.

Impulse was created and executed by design studio Lateral Office and CS Design and produced by Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, according to River City.

Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.