NEW “Vulcans on Parade” statue unveiled at City Walk Bham [Photos]

Vulcan on Parade / City Walk BHAM
The newest “Vulcans on Parade” statue was unveiled today at City Walk Bham. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Today, the 17th and latest “Vulcans on Parade” statue was unveiled at its new home in City Walk Bham. Painted by artist Melissa Shultz-Jones, the new statue honors Darlene Negrotto, longtime CEO of Vulcan Park Foundation (VPF) who recently retired from the position.

Part of the Vulcans on Parade art project

Vulcan on Parade / City Walk BHAM
“Beloved Birmingham” being installed at City Walk Bham by members of Stone Building Company. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Led by Vulcan’s Junior Leadership Board, Vulcans on Parade is a community art project that began in 2015. Since then, 17 miniature replicas of Birmingham’s Vulcan have been installed around the world (but mostly Birmingham), including:

  • Railroad Park
  • BJCC
  • Kinetic Communications
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens
  • Birmingham Zoo
  • PropHouse Event Rentals
  • Birmingham-Southern College
  • Pizitz Food Hall Courtyard
  • Magic City Dentistry
  • Oak Mountain Elementary School
  • Redmont Distilling
  • Maynard-Cooper
  • Liverpool, England
  • i3 Academy
  • Patriot Park
  • City Walk Bham

Each Vulcan on Parade is “adopted” by a business or organization and hand-painted by a local artist.

About “Beloved Birmingham”

Vulcan on Parade / City Walk BHAM
Artist Melissa Shultz-Jones in front of her recent work, “Beloved Birmingham”. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Dubbed “Beloved Birmingham”, the Vulcan on Parade statue at City Walk Bham honors the work of Darlene Negrotto, who served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Vulcan Park Foundation from 2004 until March 2023. Darlene was succeeded in the role by Cynthia Cardona, who previously served as Director of Museum Operations for Vulcan Park & Museum.

During her 19 years with the organization, Darlene was pivotal in furthering Vulcan Park & Museum’s mission to, “preserve and promote Vulcan as the symbol for the Birmingham region, to advance knowledge and understanding of Birmingham’s diverse history and culture, and to encourage exploration of the region.

“City Walk BHAM is honored to be home to a Vulcan on Parade! Darlene Negrotto has been involved with parks in the city of Birmingham for so many years, and we’re thrilled to represent her and her accomplishments in our space.”

Toni Dennis, Director of Public Relations and Community Partnerships, City Walk Bham

“Beloved Birmingham” was installed at City Walk Bham directly behind the Birmingham Museum of Art. The statue was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Protective Life Foundation, Medical Properties Trust, Mike Temple and Regions Bank.

Vulcan on Parade / City Walk BHAM
Every inch of “Beloved Birmingham” was meticulously hand-painted by Melissa Shultz-Jones. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

“Beloved Birmingham” was researched, designed and painted by local artist Melissa Shultz-Jones over the course of nearly two years. Melissa—who previously painted “Alba Vulcanis”, the Vulcan on Parade inside the Birmingham Botanical Gardens—was approached by the Vulcan Park Foundation for this project.

“[The Vulcan Park Foundation] wanted this piece to celebrate the value of green spaces in Birmingham, and I thought a lot about what that meant. Of course I included places like City Walk Bham and Railroad Park, but the scope also encompasses some ‘forgotten’ spaces in our city. There are a lot of small parks–there is even a tiny National Park on there, too. “

Melissa Shultz-Jones, Artist
Vulcan on Parade / City Walk BHAM
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

The statue is designed as a map of Birmingham and includes just under 200 different green spaces—parks, community gardens, rivers and any kind of spaces that brings people together in a public area. In addition to green spaces, “Beloved Birmingham” includes labeled depictions of natives plants and animals.

“I think people will be surprised by the places, native wildlife and fauna represented on the statue that they might not be familiar with. My hope is that people close their eyes, point to a random spot on the statue and find a new trail to hike or a native animal or plant to look for. I hope that ‘Beloved Birmingham’ can help everyone learn about and visit a place in Birmingham that they’ve never heard about.”

Melissa Shultz-Jones, Artist

To learn more about Melissa Shultz-Jones and her work, visit her website and follow her on Instagram.

Excited to see a new Vulcans on Parade statue in Birmingham? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know which one is your favorite!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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