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Ladder Lenders

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a public art project by Charlie Brouwer and the Community of Kingsport, TN

Sponsored by: City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts & Tennessee Arts Commission
September 25 - November 13, 2017

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About the Project


Borrowed ladders, rising together in a temporary public art project that involves, engages and is about the Kingsport Community


Rise Together Kingsport is a project by the City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, and artist Charlie Brouwer. The project provides an opportunity for everyone and every part of the community to participate in creating a sculpture about the combined hopes and dreams that depend on each other to be Kingsport. Individuals, families, organizations, schools, churches, and businesses will all be invited to lend ladders (symbols of their hopes and dreams) to be connected together in a monumental sculpture towering in front of the Renaissance Center and spilling across its lawn to Center St.


The ladders can be real extension and stepladders, or any form or size of ladder – including handmade ladders from any material. The ladders can be as creative or expressive, or as plain as the owners want them to be. The process of gathering the ladders beginning on Sept. 25 and building the sculpture (completion on Oct. 14)  will be a grand celebration of community! It will remain on exhibit until  November 13 when it will be dismantled and all ladders returned (unharmed!) to their owners.


The artist, Charlie Brouwer has led similar projects in 13 other U.S. communities from Greensboro, NC to St. Louis, MO – for information and a video see: http://www.risetogether.info/index.html


Here’s the plan:

  • 100’s of ladders borrowed from families, schools, churches, children, businesses, and organizations from across the county will be turned into a temporary sculpture on the grounds of the Renaissance Center.
  • The ladders will be like the hopes and dreams of those who lend them and the sculpture will represent a true community – one where those who hope and dream hold on to, and support each other so they can all “Rise Together”.
  • Everyone can participate – real ladders are needed – however, participation is the goal, so a ladder can be a stepstool, a tiny toy ladder, a chair used to stand on to reach higher, or creative ladders (any size) made from anything. Ladders can be plain and simple or highly decorated ... lenders may paint on or put messages on them.
  • All ladders will be registered and tagged and lenders will be recognized on the list of lenders posted on the website and on a sign at the sculpture. The owner of a ladder may even choose to have the name of the lender be someone they wish to honor, or remember.
  • It’s an opportunity for a family, church, organization, or business to communicate an interest in their community through their participation.
  • All ladders will be returned, but if lenders do not want their ladders back, they will be donated to Holston Habitat for Humanity.
  • Borrowing ladders begins Sept. 25 – learn how to lend one (or arrange for us to pick yours up) at: http://risetogetherkingsport.org/lend-a-ladder.html
  • All ladders we picked up will be returned Nov. 13-17.




Questions? – email: BonnieMacdonald@KingsportTN.gov or call: 423.392.8414


Follow us on Facebook: Rise Together Kingsport


© 2017 Charlie Brouwer