Category: Public Art

Roof Raised on Tradition Cornerstone

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Over 50 people attended the ‘roof raising’ of the Meeting Place structure onto the Tradition Cornerstone site located at the corner of Smith and Prescott Streets in December.  Lajos Heder, one of the artists from Harries + Heder Collaborative was on site to supervise the placing of the roof onto the structure. A Big Belly solar-powered trash receptacle and drinking fountain have since been installed at the site.  Work continues on the site and depending on the weather, plans are to have the site completed by the end of March 2014-just in time for Spring! This will be a great site for picnics, family gatherings, birthday parties, and a place to have lunch during your workday.  Look for an upcoming announcement for the ribbon cutting.  We hope to see you there!

Tradition Cornerstone Under Construction!

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The Tradition Cornerstone is now under construction!  Developed by artists Mags Harries & Lajos Heder, the second of four cornerstones along the Downtown Greenway is located at the intersection of Smith & Spring Streets in the northwest corner of the 4-mile loop.  Work has begun and will continue through March 2014.   Click here for photos and more information about the design and fabrication process.

The Comment Period Has Ended: However, you can still view the plans for Phase 2 & the Tradition Cornerstone!

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The comment period has ended; however you can still view the plans for the 50% design of Phase 2 and the Tradition Cornerstone. To review the 50% design plans for Phase 2, please click each document below: Phase 2 Plans-Exhibit 1 Phase 2 Plans-Exhibit 2 Rendering of Phase 2 To view the design of the Tradition Cornerstone by Harries & Héder, click here. If you have questions, please contact Dabney Sanders, Project Manager, at dsanders@actiongreensboro.org.  

Put a Little Downtown Greenway in Your Garden

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With April coming to a close, this weekend is a good time to sneak in some last minute plants and flowers.  Greensboro’s permaculture expert and Downtown Greenway consultant Charlie Headington offers a few ideas to feed the "thieves" and other beneficial insects needed to maintain a healthy organic garden. "Some for the thieves, some for the birds, and some for us," Charlie says.  "Beneficial insects manage the not-so-beneficial insects, or insects that we don't want.  In an organic garden, you let insects manage other insects." Butterfly Garden Butterfly Bush - attracts the yellow swallowtail butterfly Butterfly Weed - a bright orange flower, which attracts monarch butterflies Pawpaw Tree - produces edible fruit, which attracts the zebra swallowtail butterfly Ground cover plants that attract beneficial insects Ajuga Stonecrop Strawberry Pennyroyal White clover (attracts honeybees for clover honey) Hide a fence or garden wall Trumpet honeysuckle (for the hummingbirds) [caption id="attachment_1816" align="alignright" width="300"] Charlie Headington's plans for the West Smith and Prescott Streets' cornerstone orchard.[/caption] These plants and flowers will be included in the proposed orchard and garden design that Charlie created for the West Smith and Prescott Street area near the Greenway.  Read the Greensboro News & Record article on the garden’s planned design and for more information about the planned sculptures and seating area designed by Boston, MA, architects Mags Harries and Lajos Héder. Learn more about Permaculture Gardening with Charlie Headington.  Charlie is hosting a Permaculture Gardening Workshop on Saturday, April 27.  To register, email charlie.headington@gmail.com.

We Want Your Input on the 50% Design of Phase 2 & the Tradition Cornerstone!

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If you were unable to attend the Public Meetings on April 10 and 11, you still have a chance to share your thoughts about the 50% Design Plans for Phase 2 (Murrow Boulevard and Lee Street to Fisher/Greene) and on the proposed design of the Tradition Cornerstone by Harries & Héder.  Click here to take the survey.  Comments can be submitted online through Friday, April 26.  We appreciate your input! To review the 50% design plans for Phase 2, please click each document below: Phase 2 Plans-Exhibit 1 Phase 2 Plans-Exhibit 2 Rendering of Phase 2 To view the design of the Tradition Cornerstone by Harries & Héder, click here. If you have questions, please contact Dabney Sanders, Project Manager, at dsanders@actiongreensboro.org.

Ribbon Cutting Celebration & Community Input on Design of Tradition Cornerstone & Phase 2

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Join us for a Ribbon Cutting Celebration of Phase 3B on Smith Street between Eugene and Spring Streets on Wednesday, April 10 from 3:15–4:00 pm, followed by a Community Input Meeting to share your thoughts on the proposed design for the Tradition Cornerstone by Harries & Heder and on the 50% design plan for Phase 2 (Murrow Boulevard and East Fisher Avenue) from 4:00–6:00 pm on April 10. If you are not able to join us on April 10 for the Ribbon Cutting and Community Input meeting, please join us for a second chance to share your comments of the proposed designs on Thursday, April 11 from 11:00 am–1:00 pm. The Ribbon Cutting and Community Input Meetings on April 10 and 11 will be held at the clubhouse at the Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments located at 404 West Smith Street. Click here for a public meeting flyer.  Questions?  Contact Action Greensboro at 379.0821.

Greenway Public Art: Neighborhood Benches

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Dabney Sanders: We knew from the early planning stages for the Downtown Greenway that we wanted public art to be a major component of this 4-mile loop, and we are using North Carolina artists to create benches, much like the bench that I am sitting on now, here in Morehead Park.  The process to select artists involves submitting their qualifications and examples of prior work.  Then we select the artist and ask that they come to Greensboro, meet with the neighborhoods, learn the neighborhood vision as well as its history, and then create a proposal for a bench that reflects the area.  We have commissioned three artists to date, and two of those artist benches have been installed.  The first one is a bench called Five Points that Gary Gresko from Oriental, North Carolina, designed. It reflects the history of the Warnersville neighborhood, which is a fascinating history that many people in Greensboro are not aware of.  So, we are pleased to be able to tell that story as people enjoy and use the Greenway. Gary Gresko: These are glacial boulders dug up right out of this site to represent the bedrock of this community and the beginning of the Greenway project.  So there are five boulders placed here, one behind each bench—each a symbol representing the community. Xandra Eden: There is a nice kind of open communication in all aspects of moving toward this project because the idea is we want this Greenway to be loved, appreciated, and used by the neighborhoods that  are nearby—not just plopped down out of nowhere.  We want the benches to be a part of each community.  The best approach is to communicate with each community and make sure that the bench is something they are going to love, and that will enrich their lives. Dabney Sanders: The bench that I am sitting on now is called Inside/Out, created by Ben Kastner and Toby Keeton from Wilmington, North Carolina.  In this particular area,we did not have a neighborhood in exactly the same way that we had in Warnersville.  So we did look at history, and this area where we are sitting had originally been a part of Governor John Motley Morehead’s property—a large property that has now been whittled down to just a few acres.  His home was Blandwood, which sits about a half block away from us.  And we looked at the fact that this had been called the Morehead neighborhood. The artist looked at some furniture in Blandwood—some historical pieces that had a good story to tell. He decided to create these outdoor pieces using steel and concrete, and recreate them as an outdoor living room.  The artist talked about seeing the Greenway as an inviting place for people to enjoy, but then stop for a little respite and perhaps have a conversation with somebody they do not know.  This seating arrangement provides a welcoming opportunity to converse. The next bench that we are planning is still in the design phase, and will be located near the Fisher Park neighborhood.  The artist , Jeanette Brossart from Durham, North Carolina, has already held some community meetings with the Fisher Park neighborhood.  We are looking forward to seeing the end product at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Greenway Public Art: The Gateway of the Open Book Cornerstone

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Dabney Sanders: We knew from the early planning stages for the Downtown Greenway that we wanted public art to be a major component of this 4-mile loop.  We wanted those pieces of public art to represent city-wide themes that have been important in making Greensboro what it is today.  So we have commissioned the first artist to create a cornerstone with the theme of "Motion," called Gateway of the Open Book.  Rhode Island artist Brower Hatcher created that piece, and he collaborated with  local artist Frank Russell as well as students from local elementary and high schools represented by the Warnersville neighborhood, the closest neighborhood to Gateway of the Open Book. Frank Russell: It is always terrific to work with kids.  Kids have absolute raw, unedited creativity streaming out of them.  It is unfiltered, and they will tell you exactly what they see or feel or think, provided you can get them talking—and you have to get them talking.  Barbara brought coffee, and we actually gave them caffeine to elicit a response—with cookies and coffee and some time.  I think when people Peter’s age began to see one another participate, it encouraged them to loosen up and participate.  Peter was very outspoken and had terrific ideas on paper.  Kids are just creative genius.  We did not have to make up anything for these iconic images.  We created almost 40 images, and we actually used 25 in the sculpture itself.  They definitely brought their 'A' game.  We also played with some found objects that provided the idea of the four quarters of the moon and the sun. Peter Smith: Me and my friends, we drew pictures of the moon, the sun, the galaxy—all types of stuff.  It was the first time that I had worked with scrap metals.  We would go through copper, boxes of copper, and pipes.  There we started talking about the sculpture—phase one of it. Frank Russell: We were challenged.  We were invited to mention several things about the strengths of Greensboro, our city.  And I think education is one of the most powerful things that Greensboro has going.  We have so many colleges, so many universities.  So, to have it shaped as a book for knowledge and research and all the fun, excellent things that are going to be found in this particular book, from fish to rocket ships to flying saucers to a lot of great things, made sense.  These kids gave us these ideas. These kids told us what should be in the cornerstone. Peter Smith: It makes me feel wonderful because it was something that I took part in with me and my friends, and we did something for the community.

Public Art Selection

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Xandra Eden: I am Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  The Weatherspoon Art Museum has one of the foremost collections of American and contemporary art in the Southeast.  It numbers almost 6,000 works, and we have a very active exhibition and public program schedule that draws audiences from many different parts of North Carolina, across the U.S., and internationally. So the Downtown Greenway public art selection panel has a really wonderful process.  The panel begins with more of an expansive look at the areas and the neighborhoods that the Greenway is passing through and who lives there. They also look at an appropriate model to take in developing art projects throughout the Greenway.  Then the panel moves toward an open call.  So we have artists who have submitted proposals from across the U.S. responding to these different ideas.  There are four different ideas that we are putting forward for the cornerstones.  We also have several different benches that have been created or proposed as well as other projects.  We are really working toward having an expansive and open submissions process. During the course of determining who the artist is at the committee meetings, we have really interesting discussions about what is most appropriate, how they could work with the communities, and what makes sense for us as a community.  Once we have decided on an artist that we think makes the most sense, then we move to another process that involves an open communication between the artist and the people who live in that community. It's a nice kind of open communication in all aspects of moving toward this project. We are always looking for new artists and fresh ideas for these projects that are coming up.  We are really excited that we have been able to partner with wonderful organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the United Arts Council, and my own institution, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, as well as Elsewhere Collaborative in Downtown Greensboro.  With all of these arts organizations, with the community, and with people who live in these neighborhoods all contributing to what the Greenway is, it sets up a really welcoming experience for any artist who does a project here.  They have all come away with positive feelings about the project they did in Greensboro and all the different people they met, as well as the way they networked with other artists here and other people involved in collecting or curating art.  This process has been very beneficial for the artists as well as our community.

Downtown Greenway Cornerstones

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Dabney Sanders: We knew from the early planning stages for the Downtown Greenway that we wanted public art to be a major component of this 4-mile loop.  Certainly, we are interested in people enjoying it for health and recreation.  We are doing it to encourage economic development, but we also wanted to create something that was iconic for Greensboro and something that would really represent what Greensboro is as well as Greensboro’s rich history.  We have a number of different ways that we are accomplishing that goal with public art on the Greenway.  One of those ways is creating and commissioning four cornerstones that mark the corners of the 4-mile loop.  We wanted those pieces of public art to represent city-wide themes that have been important in making Greensboro what it is today.  So we have commissioned the first artist to create a cornerstone with the theme of "Motion," and it is called Gateway of the Open Book.  Rhode Island Artist Brower Hatcher created that piece, and he collaborated with local artist Frank Russell as well as students from local elementary and high schools represented by the Warnersville neighborhood, which is the closest neighborhood the Gateway of the Open Book. The Gateway of the Open Book looks at two things: the history and importance of transportation in this community and the intersection of railroads and a good highway system. At the same time, it also represents the role of education.  We have seven colleges and universities in Greensboro and Guilford County, and that is unusual for a community of our size.  We think the forward movement of people’s minds is an important part of not only who we are, but also who we want to be in the future. The other cornerstone themes will be "Freedom," which sits in the southeast corner of the loop and, of course, that looks at the role that Greensboro played in the National Civil Rights sit-in movement.  We have a cornerstone that will represent "Innovation"  in the northeast corner, looking toward where Cone Mills has operated and the historic White Oak Plant.  That cornerstone will represent the role that innovative industries have played in Greensboro and the role that both entrepreneurialism and innovation continue to play in defiing our community.  Tradition, the last cornerstone, is in the northwest corner and will look northwest toward the Battle of Guilford Court House, National Military Park and the role that Greensboro played in the revolutionary war.  All of those pieces of our history were important in helping to shape Greensboro today.