Unique insured: Take The Stage sculpture

As one of Virginia’s first and largest group self-insurance pools for local governmental entities, VML Insurance Programs (VMLIP) provides auto, property, liability and workers’ compensation coverage to more than 470 local governmental entities throughout the Commonwealth.

We insure a wide variety of buildings and facilities – including schools, town halls, water and wastewater facilities, jails, libraries, and much more. However, since we insure items owned by local governments, some of the property we cover is unique or historical in nature – such as the artwork featured in today’s post.

The “Take the Stage” sculpture, installed in the downtown area of the City of Bristol – a VMLIP member, was unveiled last summer as part of Bristol’s heritage and in celebration of the opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

The piece, permanently displayed in Bristol’s Cumberland Square Park, features two life-size bronze musicians gathered around a microphone. It was commissioned by Bristol sculptor Val Lyle and made possible by support from the Marcia and Marvin Gilliam, Jr. Foundation dedicated to the arts.

"Take the Stage" was commissioned by Bristol sculptor Val Lyle
“Take the Stage” was commissioned by Bristol sculptor Val Lyle

The piece is a project of the Twin City nonprofit Art in Public Places. According to Art in Public Places, the completed figures weigh about 350 pounds each, while the granite stone weighs about 2,500 pounds. Placed on Bristol property, the sculpture is now insured by VMLIP.

“Art plays a central role in the life of every vibrant city, serving as a catalyst for expression and conversation,” said Bristol City Manager Tabitha H. Crowder.  “The permanent works of art that can be found in Bristol’s public spaces provide a unique and creative trail that draws people to, and through, our city.”

“The interactive nature of this particular work invites the viewer to take their spot on a stage reminiscent of the original Bristol Sessions from 1927. From this vantage point, they have a direct view of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum located across the street, and for that moment, they can truly get a feel of what it’s like to walk in the footsteps of country music’s greatest legends,” she added.

According to Art in Public Places:

  • The vintage microphone has been fitted with a custom identifier reminiscent of the famous Bristol archway sign similar to the old radio station mics.
  • The guitar brand logo on the guitar’s headstock is invented based on the initials of Marcia and Marvin Gilliam, the donors.
  • The gent is wearing Pointer Brand blue jeans, showing the Bristol-based brand’s logo on both the back and right side pockets.
  • The models were chosen to represent a classic ideal of musicians of this genre. They are in fact local musicians.
  • The fiddle was cast from the female model’s very first fiddle.
  • The Nick Mandloff thumb pick was cast from a vintage original.
  • The sculptor’s stamp, a simple “Val,” is present on both figures.

For more information on the Take the Stage sculpture, visit: Art in Public Places.

If your entity has photographs of a unique or historic insured property or equipment you would like to see featured, e-mail: hcammarasana@vmlins.org.

VMLIP offers more than just coverage.  We are partners in risk management. How does your insurer stack up?  Having all lines of coverage with VMLIP ensures that your organization is receiving comprehensive coverage and a wide variety of value-added services tailored to Virginia’s local governmental entities.  Call for a quote today: (800) 963-6800. For more information on VMLIP visit: www.vrsa.us or follow us on Facebook.

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