Unum has added a touch of artistic flair to its headquarters infrastructure. The company commissioned an original three-panel artwork to wrap a large power generator on Lookout Street.
As part of River City Company’s ArtSpark program, Chattanooga area artist Renel Plouffe created the 103 inch by 305 inch triptych design. Plouffe’s art depicts iconic Chattanooga landmarks from the Walnut Street Bridge to the vistas of Lookout Mountain to Coolidge Park. These landmarks provide a backdrop for the central focus of the panels—families, friends and loved ones—and represents the diversity of Unum’s employees, communities and the millions of families it helps to protect every day.
“We’re thankful for the partnership with Renel and excited she was able to bring our vision of this artwork to life,” said Liz Ahmed, executive vice president of people and communications for Unum. “At Unum, we have a multi-generational workforce that consists of people of various races and ethnicities with different abilities, beliefs and backgrounds. This makes us a mirror of the customers we serve and the communities in which we live.”
In addition to the artwork reveal, Unum announced a $10,000 contribution to ArtSpark. The contribution will not only help revitalize downtown Chattanooga but help to offset the cost for other businesses looking to incorporate public art into their exterior spaces who might otherwise not be able to afford to do so.
“Unum has been an amazing partner, working with River City Company for many years to create a vibrant downtown,” said River City Company president and CEO Emily Mack. “We are honored to be continuing the partnership through our new ArtSpark Business Sponsorship Program. As we welcome people back downtown to their places of employment and enjoyment, the new Unum ArtSpark box will be another unique feature that adds to the other beautiful aspects of downtown!”
River City Company and Unum collaborated to ensure the artist selection process was inclusive and artist diversity was prioritized within the review process. The City of Chattanooga’s Public Art Department was also consulted in the artist selection process.
The River City Company ArtSpark program was created in 2018 after exploring options to beautify Downtown Chattanooga. While utility and traffic boxes provide essential city services, they can be an unappealing object in the downtown landscape. The ArtSpark program was developed as way to beautify these boxes and use the local Chattanooga arts community to maximize the impact.
At the Unum unveiling, River City Company launched the ArtSpark Business Sponsorship Program to partner with more businesses like Unum to beautify even more downtown utility cabinets. Sponsors will have the ability to choose from a Public Art Commission approved roster of ArtSpark artists to create a design for the cabinet they want to sponsor, and River City Company will facilitate the process of working with the artist and installation. “Due to Unum’s generous gift of $10,000, we are able to provide matching funds for the first 10 businesses participating in our new ArtSpark Business Sponsorship Program,” said Mack.