HUNTSVILLE, AL -- The most ambitious public art project in Huntsville's history will soon be unveiled downtown.
Borrowing a page from Chattanooga, local arts supporters plan to import as many as 24 outdoor sculptures that will be displayed across the city starting in December.
Created by artists from as far away as upstate New York, the pieces - some realistic, others abstract - will be sprinkled around the Courthouse Square and outside the Huntsville Museum of Art and Von Braun Center.
Others will grace the campuses of Alabama A&M University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, as well as Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment on Seminole Drive.
The nonprofit Arts Council Inc. is organizing a sculpture tour called "SPACES" to teach people about the sculptures and the artists who created them.
"Public art engages a community so greatly," Arts Council Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken said last week. "The benefit of a sculpture tour is that it gives the community an opportunity to live with the pieces for two years, then we're able to bring in new pieces."
Private supporters have donated about $50,000 to exhibit the sculptures through September 2012. Each artist is being paid a $1,000 honorarium for loaning their work, Dillon-Jauken said.
Other than the statue of the Confederate soldier outside the courthouse, downtown Huntsville has been conspicuously devoid of public art.