The Metal Museum is the only institution in the United States devoted exclusively to the advancement of the art and craft of fine metalwork.
One of the museum’s most prominent features is its blacksmithing shop and foundry. The shops are staffed by a team of artists and apprentices who specialize in designing and creating custom-made unique works of art in a broad range of metals.
The Metal Museum has become the center for metal arts – a place that actively promotes artists and their work and plays a vital role in the recognition and collection of metal work and the teaching of innovative practices.
It is a place that serves an international community of artists and artisans creating work that is steadily building a strong following and important place within the contemporary art dialogue.
In 2013, the Executive Residence Foundation asked the Tennessee Arts Commission to help them commission an artist to develop a centerpiece for the kitchen and cutting garden that would be inspired by the botanical environment and represent the State of Tennessee. The Tennessee Arts Commission, along with a diverse selection committee, carefully reviewed extensive submissions.
The Metal Museum of Memphis was selected to create the piece which was installed in the summer of 2014.
The Metal Museum’s design is an armillary that uses a contemporary take on an age-old design. Handcrafted in bronze, copper and stainless steel, the armillary sphere references the cutting garden by including organic shapes, insects, fruits, animals, leaves and flowers from official Tennessee state symbols.
This year’s award is a 17” replica of the armillary. It is handcrafted in mild steel sandblasted with a gun blue finish. The award, as well as the armillary, was designed and produced by the artists at the Metal Museum led by Jim Masterson, Resident Artist.