Gateway sculpture placement sparks conversation of inclusion

2 artists selected for $1M Gateway Sculpture Project will showcase concepts to public; 1 commissioner says location isn’t fair to all citizens

Gateway sculpture placement sparks conversation of inclusion
Gateway sculpture placement sparks conversation of inclusion

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Two artists will take on Augusta next week. They’re working on the first of three Gateway sculptures - that the Greater Augusta Arts Council (GAAC) says will be unique.

This sign at Riverwatch Parkway and Alexander Drive welcomes drivers into Augusta. The GAAC says a monumental sculpture will be placed nearby.

“It’s a major project. We have a lot of small public art projects going on, you see them all over town. You see traffic boxes and murals going up. painted pianos. This is the city’s big investment in a large gateway project," said Greater Augusta Arts Council Executive Director Brenda Durant.

A million dollars is set aside for this project from SPLOST 7 funds. The project started 18 months ago.

“We did a national call and we had 10 national artists respond. And these were the top two as chosen through the procurement and public art panel process,” explained Durant.

Commissioners voted to officially let the Greater Augusta Arts Council manage the project Tuesday.

One commissioner said he would have liked to see artwork placed in the under served areas in the community - like East Boundary. Commissioner Williams withdrew his support on the August 13th committee meeting but that didn’t stop commissioners from voting to approve the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with GAAC Tuesday.

“They ought to have something to look at other than overgrown lots and weeds in that area but we keep getting - in some sides of the city - most the time the west side, getting what they want and the east and the south getting nothing. It wasn’t about change, it was about just starting in a different location and they didn’t want to do that," said District 9 Commissioner Marion Williams.

Durant said that would be unfair to the hard work artists already put in. She also said protocol won’t allow the location change to happen.

“We would be telling them, we’re going to take something you designed for this elevation, this location, this feel for this part of town and move it someplace else - and procurement does not allow that to happen. if a call went out stating a certain location, that location remains," Durant explained.

Next week you’ll have the chance to meet the artists, take a look at the renderings and even vote on which one you’d prefer. The sculpture finalists meet and greet is Tuesday, August 27th at 6 p.m. inside the Linda Beazley Room, that’s the Municipal Building, located at 535 Telfair Street.

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