On Thursday night, several hundred people gathered in the parking lot of the Cleveland Street Flea Market in Midtown to watch artists Eli Gold and Colin Kidder install a large, spinning sculpture made from 51 repurposed bicycle wheels across the street from the old Sears Crosstown building.
Intended to serve as the new "gateway" into Crosstown, the sculpture — titled "Beacon" — was created with money donated by Harry Freeman and Sara Ratner. The two had attended a Crosstown Arts MemFeast event in 2011, at which Gold and Kidder proposed to build the sculpture. At MemFeast events, artists present ideas for projects, and attendees vote on their favorite. The winner receives money to make their proposal a reality. The sculptors didn't win the MemFeast vote, but Freeman and Ratner liked their idea for a kinetic sculpture so much that they offered $3,000 to the artists after the event.
"That was an amazing example of the kind of community we want to create [for Crosstown]," said Christopher Miner of Crosstown Arts. "There's artists like Colin and Eli who want to do something and people like Harry and Sara who are interested in helping."
Since May, the completed sculpture has been sitting in the Crosstown Arts parking lot at 427 N. Watkins, awaiting its installation on the metal pole in a small grassy area at the intersection of N. Watkins and Cleveland.
"People in the neighborhood have stopped by every day to look at it," Miner said.
When Gold and Kidder made their proposal at MemFeast, they suggested adding the sculpture to the side of the Sears Crosstown building.
"They weren't married to that idea," Miner said. "We like the idea of the sculpture acting as a gateway to the neighborhood. It's more visible [at Cleveland and Watkins]."
Just last week, the Sears Crosstown Development Team announced that they had signed memorandums of understanding for ALSAC, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Church Health Center, Gestalt Community Schools, Methodist Healthcare, Memphis Teacher Residency, Rhodes College, the West Clinic, and Crosstown Arts as founding partners committed to redeveloping the 1.4 million-square-foot Sears Crosstown building.