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Water colors: Huntsville Utilities tank receiving makeover

HUNTSVILLE  – The large water tank at the corner of Pulaski Pike and Sparkman Drive has never lent much to the landscape at its northwest Huntsville location, but that is changing.

The Huntsville Utilities structure has become a canvas for a larger-than-life artwork titled “Jubilation” by local artist Peter Lucker, also known as “Float.”

The project is the culmination of a collaborative effort among District 1 Councilmember Devyn Keith, Huntsville Utilities, the City of Huntsville, and Arts Huntsville.

Keith heard concerns from residents about the appearance of the water tank and surrounding area and championed the initiative in early 2023. 

“This project is a fantastic example of how citizen engagement can lead to positive change,” he said in a news release “I’m thrilled that the water tank will be transformed into a work of art that embodies one of Huntsville’s public art goals – to add whimsy and delight to everyday spaces through artwork that lifts the spirits and engages the mind.

“This is just another example of the great things happening in Northwest Huntsville.”

The tank was already scheduled for refurbishment this year, providing the perfect opportunity to incorporate public art into the project. 

According to the release, “Jubilation” will feature bold graphics of children leaping for joy against a backdrop of azure elements reminiscent of water and clouds. Float is not only an experienced artist, but also spent years working with children as an educator, instructor, and mentor through various youth programs, including the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama and Arts Huntsville’s Creative Launchpad.

“I am always moved by how children can throw themselves into joy so wholeheartedly and with the headfirst energy of youth,” Float said. “I have created this design to bring that simple idea to this larger-than-life canvas.”

With the urging of Keith, Huntsville Utilities contracted with Arts Huntsville to integrate artwork into the renovation.

“At Huntsville Utilities, we take pride in delivering clean, reliable water to our community,” said Wes Kelley, CEO of Huntsville Utilities. “This project allows us to go beyond that core function and contribute to the vibrancy of our community.

“We’re excited to see Float’s design come to life and transform the water tank into a landmark that brings joy to residents and visitors alike.”

Arts Huntsville, with guidance from the Huntsville Public Art Committee, played a critical role in selecting the artist. While Lucker’s initial proposal for a separate public art project at the nearby Shurney Center ultimately was not selected, it caught the eye of the selection committee with its joyful theme and focus on children.

“Float’s initial proposal for the Shurney Center resonated with the selection panel for its uplifting imagery,” said Allison Dillon-Jauken, executive director of Arts Huntsville. “Knowing his extensive experience with large-scale artworks, his vibrant style, and the existing enthusiasm for his original design, we were confident he could expand his design to bring Jubilation to life on the water tank.”

The artwork is expected to be completed by the fall. Huntsville Utilities will also upgrade the barrier walls around the tank, which will then be painted in a color scheme to complement the completed artwork. 

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