The Ryman Auditorium has announced plans for a new permanent outdoor exhibition on the venue’s grounds called Icon Walk. The Icon Walk will feature a collection of detailed bronze likenesses honoring those who have made significant contributions to the historic venue and Music City. The announcement was made during CMA Fest as part of a special matinee Opry show at the Ryman.
As the Icon Walk takes shape, new bronze statues of beloved music legends will join existing monuments to Little Jimmy Dickens and Bill Monroe. Both statues were unveiled in 2017 as part of the Ryman’s 125th anniversary celebration. The Ryman team will again collaborate with artist Ben Watts, the talent behind the current Dickens and Monroe statues. The next artists to be honored will be announced in early 2020.
“Thousands of people stop to pay homage to Monroe or pose for selfies with Little Jimmy Dickens in front of the auditorium every year, and we love seeing that,” said Ryman General Manager, Gary Levy. “As we add more stars and legends to the Icon Walk, we’ll create more opportunities to tell the story of the Ryman, Nashville, and the legends who have graced our stage.”
Today, visitors can find Little Jimmy Dickens standing atop the Ryman’s main steps facing Fourth Avenue, greeting each and every ticket holder and tour-taker as they arrive. Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music, stands at the corner of the northwest corner of the building near the venue’s driveway on Fifth Avenue. Monroe’s likeness is flanked by a Tennessee Historical Commission marker describing the night Bluegrass Music took the stage at the Ryman for the first time in 1945.