More public art is coming to Jackson’s south side with the installation of a sculpture in the center of the MLK Drive roundabout. An unveiling event for the new art piece is planned for Friday, Aug. 25 at 12 p.m.
The sculpture titled “The Tower of Us/We Rise” is a work from Maxwell Emcays, a Chicago-based artist. In an effort to bring public art to the south side, the Jackson Public Arts Commission engaged residents on what kind of sculptures they’d like to see in their neighborhood. Following the public engagement process, the City Council selected the piece by Emcays for the roundabout, and another sculpture by artists Chris Turner and Doug Jones named “A Community of Shapes” for installation along the MLK Equality Trail. The work from Turner and Jones was installed in July and unveiled during a community event.
“The Tower of Us/We Rise” is a 22-foot tall cylindrical sculpture that will be illuminated at night. The sculpture depicts individuals standing on each other’s shoulders forming a tower. “Similar to many challenges like the Great Migration; it is the strength in unity that has allowed us to rise above adversity. It is unity that will allow us to ascend to the next frontier,” said Emcays in his artist proposal for the sculpture.
Over the past five years, the Jackson Public Arts Commission (JPAC) has facilitated the selection and installation of five sculptures at key gateways throughout Jackson. “This installation bolsters JPAC’s goal of bringing a diverse range of art to Jackson’s neighborhoods,” said Kelli Hoover, staff liaison to JPAC. “‘The Tower of Us/We Rise is also located within the MLK Corridor Improvement Authority so this will be the start of positive changes on the way.”
The unveiling event is happening in green space along the northwest corner of the S. MLK Drive and W. Morrell Street Roundabout. Participants may park vehicles on nearby Cooley Place and W. Biddle Street. The event will feature words from officials and the artist, along with a close look at the sculpture.