There are several special features that have been commissioned to either mark an area of historical significance or to take advantage of a particular opportunity.
From its earliest planning stages, Downtown 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. These art installations 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. An artist chosen specifically for the commission will meet with neighborhood residents to gain a full understanding of the significance of each particular site before beginning their creative endeavors.
Juan Logan’s piece Grounded Here is one of the first installations of public art commissioned to commemorate a designated area of historic significance along the Greenway. It was installed on the Five Points section of the Greenway near the trailhead parking area off Eugene Street in July 2010. Grounded Here originally located at the trailhead parking area at Five Points at Eugene and Lee has been temporarily dismantled and in storage awaiting it’s new home at the new Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club to be located on the old JC Price School Property off Freeman Mill Road.
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. The community was founded by former 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 were able to prosper. Urban renewal programs effectively wiped out the commercial district located on Ashe Street. With the help of input from current residents of Warnersville, many of whom are descendents of the original families who settled there, the public artwork created by Mr. Logan reflects 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 his work 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, among others. 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 to, as one art historian put it, “reveal what we avoid when we blink.”
Although born in the South, Logan’s artworks 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. His ability to tell powerful visual stories in a variety of mediums makes him an artist whose vision is uniquely appropriate for this Ashe Street project.
A North Carolina railroad trestle operated by Norfolk Southern and abandoned since the mid-1970s has been transformed into a gallery of gates by Sculptor Jim Gallucci, with interactive lighting effects designed by Scott Richardson of Light Defines Form.
Funded in part through a Mayor’s Institute on City Design’s 25th Anniversary Initiative grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, this project has two major components. First, the iron gates designed by Gallucci were inspired by decorative details on the art deco-style Southern Bell Building built on nearby Eugene Street around the same time as the underpass. The other component comprises interactive and colorful lighting created by Richardson to both illuminate the passageway and enhance security. The lighting provides a unique and ever-changing experience, while encouraging movement through the underpass.
Greenway Art Selection Panel members, with input from Elsewhere Collaborative, a local arts group, identified an opportunity to create a public art project at the highly visible northern end of the Morehead Park where trailhead parking was installed. Primary Flight, a Miami-based street art collective, was chosen to design and paint colorful murals on each of seven large-scale concrete support structures at the Spring Garden Street underpass. The new murals cover the concrete support structures that support the highway above on Freeman Mill Road with bright lines and colors inspired by a Bauhaus building in Greensboro and the “movement” theme for this section of the trail.
Primary Flight explores and promotes aesthetic expression from established and emerging artists, delivering a bold, urban sensibility to underutilized areas. Their art transforms communities by educating, informing, and enlightening through the creation of outdoor museums. Their three-week installation, from April 18 through May 9, 2012, included a public invitation to participate in the creation of part of their work at the May 6 opening of Morehead Park.
Commissioned by the NC Arts Council, the mural adds a significant contemporary work to Greensboro’s public art landscape and has beautified the trailhead parking area for trailgoers and drivers alike.