Artist Juan Logan will return to Greensboro for the dedication of Grounded Here, his public artwork commemorating the historically significant location of Ashe Street on Sunday, September 19, 2010, from 2:00–3:00 pm at the sculpture site, which is located in the Warnersville neighborhood along the Downtown Greenway. The community is invited to join Juan and Warnersville residents for a dedication ceremony and celebration with refreshments. Funding for this Ashe Street public artwork has been made possible through a grant from American Express Corporation and an anonymous donation.
Juan Logan is an internationally recognized artist from Durham, NC, and a professor of Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With input from the Warnersville community, Juan has created Grounded Here, in recognition of Ashe Street, which was at one time the vibrant commercial and social hub of Warnersville.
Ashe Street was the first organized African-American community in the city of Greensboro, founded by ex-slaves in 1867 two years after the close of the Civil War on land deeded to them by Yardley Warner, a Quaker from Pennsylvania. Over the years, the neighborhood flourished into a thriving community—a place where churches and schools formed its hub, and where well-established, black-owned businesses prospered. Urban renewal programs effectively wiped out the commercial district located on Ashe Street. With input from current residents of Warnersville, many of whom are descendents of the original settling families, the public artwork created by Logan reflects both the unique and important history of the site.
Born in 1946 in Nashville, Tennessee, Juan Logan was raised in North Carolina and is currently a professor in the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has shown extensively both nationally and internationally, and his work is included in numerous public, corporate, and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Memphis Brooks Museum, the Zimmerli Museum of Art, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. The thought-provoking imagery of Juan Logan often deals with the many layers of the African-American experience. His work asks us to look closely, to go beyond the surface, and to, as one art historian put it, “reveal what we avoid when we blink.”
Although born in the South, Logan’s artwork address subjects relevant to the American experience as a whole. At once abstract and representational, his paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and videos address the interconnections of race, place, and power, as well as his ability to tell powerful visual stories in a variety of mediums. He is truly an artist whose vision is uniquely appropriate for this Ashe Street project.
From its earliest planning stages, Greenway coordinators determined that visually appealing public art of various types and scale would be an important feature of the Greenway. Upon its completion the Greenway will wind its way through several neighborhoods, each with its own unique history and story to tell. Public art—paid for through a combination of grants, private donations, and corporate funding—will be scattered along the Greenway, and will help tell the story of these neighborhoods and our city. As the Greenway travels through distinct neighborhoods, historic sites such as Ashe Street have been identified, and an artist chosen specifically for the commission. The artist will meet with neighborhood residents to gain a full understanding of the significance of each site before beginning creative work. Juan Logan’s piece is one of the first installations of public art commissioned to commemorate a designated area of historic significance along the Greenway. In addition, functional site pieces such as bike racks and signage, will be designed to make them both useful and visually appealing. The installation of four major, large-scale public artworks, along with historically significant, site-specific artwork and site pieces that are both artistic and functional, will enhance the visual quality and beauty of both the Greenway and Greensboro itself.