The 17-foot steel shade structure on the Memphis riverfront is not just there so people will sit out of the sun -- it is a piece of John Medwedeff's artwork.

The outdoor sculpture, titled Whirl, is one of three artist-designed structures that visitors to the Memphis riverfront can admire. This steel arrangement, commissioned by the UrbanArt Commission and the Riverfront Development Corporation, is the first of three public art commissions on the riverfront.

"It has been a great collaboration to get the sculpture here in Vance Park, and everyone seems to be really excited about it," says Carissa Hussong, executive director of UrbanArt. "The overall response to Medwedeff's structure has been very positive."

Native Memphian Medwedeff completed his training at the National Ornamental Metal Museum. This is his first public art structure here, but he has previously completed several large-scale public art projects with his company, Medwedeff Forge and Design.

Carol Todd, Reb Haizlip, Brantley Ellzey, and Leonard Gill have designed the other two structures for the riverfront.

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