The new King Commons park in downtown Johnson City celebrates the native flora of our area with unique, decorative bridge rails forged by a team of artists at the Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Lewis Body, Blacksmithing Apprentice at the Metal Museum, designed the railings and led the fabrication of these art pieces. Body has worked in metal shops that specialize in architectural forged work, classic car restoration, and precision fabrication. Since he began work at the Metal Museum, Body has created an array of artworks ranging from furniture to sculptural forms. Body worked closely with Jim Masterson, Shop Foreman, and Kacy Ganley, Blacksmithing Apprentice, throughout the railing project.
The beautiful railings add color to the park infrastructure and are intended to spark conversations about the importance of native plants and their role in pollination. The ironwork features coneflower, iris, and milkweed flowers within its design. Plants such as these are vital to the survival of bees and other pollinators, and are especially important as pollinators are experiencing a decline in numbers due to pesticide use, habitat loss, climate change, and other factors.