When Johnny Cash performed for a live audience of inmates and guards at Folsom Prison in 1968, he never could have expected that the resulting album would revive his career and have a lasting impact on his legacy. The performance also forever changed the City of Folsom, who is honoring the musician with a one-of-a-kind tribute: the Johnny Cash Art Experience Trail.
Like many of Folsom’s multi-use trails, the Johnny Cash Trail is a Class-1 trail for visitors to bike or walk. Unlike existing trails, however, the Johnny Cash trail winds across Folsom Prison property and is the home of an interactive art exhibit honoring Johnny Cash. Romo Studios is creating seven larger-than-life sculptures for the Johnny Cash Art Experience. Artist Adan Romo drew inspiration from the music and life of Johnny Cash for the projects, which include:
Two 7-foot tall bronze guitar picks will mark the beginning and the end of the Johnny Cash Art Experience Trail.
Folsom Prison Blues
Fifteen-feet tall steel poles depicting the image of Cash playing his guitar like he did for the inmates at Folsom Prison.
Ring of Fire
Hand-formed stainless steel picks form a Ring of Fire that illuminate from the reflection of the sun as well as programmable LED lights to light up the Ring of Fire day or night.
Granite blocks with bronze castings of actual letters written to Johnny Cash from the inmates who watched his legendary performance remind us of the lasting legacy Cash had on prison reform and redemption.
Hello, I’m Johnny Cash
A slightly larger-than-life bronze sculpture depicts Cash as he would have appeared on the stage at Folsom Prison during his live performance for inmates and guards in 1968; Cash appears to be sitting on a stool, playing his Martin guitar.
Seventeen feet tall rust-colored, heavy steel guitar necks are placed in the ground at the scale of a prison cell.
The sculptures for this project are a powerful visual reminder of the legacy of the Man in Black. But artist Adan Romo had even more in mind for this project: a fully interactive experience for viewers and visitors to the trail. Romo Studios is working with the Johnny Cash Estate to create numerous digital experiences that will allow visitors to engage with the art pieces, from listening to Cash’s music to specific audio documentaries that will play at each site.
“We wanted to create a way for visitors to interact with the art pieces that went beyond the physical and tactile. Smartphones seemed to be a logical and innovative way for visitors to interact with Cash’s legacy as they traverse the trail.”
- Adan Romo