The Valley of the Kings Obelisk
Project for the Knoxville Zoo, created with students from Patricia Tinajero’s ‘Special Topics in Sculpture’ course, University of Tennessee, Spring 2012.
Remarks from Knoxville Zoo officials:
We approached the U.T. School of Art with a concept to serve as an entrance piece for the ‘Valley of the Kings’ lion and baboon habitats. Dr. Tinajero and her students really outdid themselves. They presented their concepts in a professional manner along with a proposed budget and worked long hours to make “The Obelisk” ready for our grand opening. The unique sculpture is as educational for our guests as it is beautiful. It truly makes ‘Valley of the Kings’ a spectacular part of Knoxville Zoo.
—Lisa New, Senior Director of Animal Collections and Conservation
Knoxville Zoo has partnered with U.T. over the years on many different and unique projects. The Obelisk created by Professor Patricia Tinajero and her students from the U.T. School of Art for our ‘Valley of the Kings’ exhibit sets the theme for this new facility for our lions and baboons. It will be a part of Knoxville Zoo for many years to come. On behalf of Knoxville Zoo, our Board of Directors, and myself, a most sincere well done and thank you.
—Jim Vlna, Executive Director, Knoxville Zoo
Working with the students of the art school has been an invigorating and energizing experience for both me and my staff. Seeing these students dedicating themselves above and beyond the requirements of the class and undertaking a project such as this was wonderful. We could not have asked for a better end product. The students also learned some material lessons in having to design within narrow specifications and theming, as well as having to fit this design into a specific site with its own complexities. Additionally, the hands on experience in the construction of the obelisk provided countless in the field learning opportunities for the students. All of this could not have been possible without the commitment, dedication and perseverance of Professor Patricia Tinajero. Knoxville Zoo visitors will have the opportunity for many years to enjoy and utilize this sculpture and we are extremely proud of what the relationship with UT School of Art, Professor Tinajero and all the students grew into.
—Keith W. Montgomery
Senior Director, Operations
Knoxville Zoological Gardens