Clayton board picks sculptures for downtown trail

ndunn@newsobserver.comApril 25, 2014 

The second installment of Clayton’s Downtown Sculpture Trail will feature five pieces taller than 10 feet, an interactive arch and a man who “stopped and turned to see and listen.”

The town’s Public Art Advisory Board chose eight pieces – one more than last year – that it will place throughout downtown. Installation will begin in May, and the pieces will remain up for one year.

“This year’s crop has some really interesting pieces,” Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen said during a selection committee meeting. “This is going to be really exciting.”

Thirteen artists from four states submitted 22 pieces for the trail. The Downtown Sculpture Trail Selection Committee reviewed the works and forwarded its selections to the Art Advisory Board.

Three pieces will stand in Horne Square, and two will go on Town Square. The other destinations are Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library, the Clayton Community Center and the roundabout on the Front Street extension.

Mayor Jody McLeod said twice as many artists submitted entries this year than last, signaling growing interest in the public-art project. North Carolina artists crafted six of the eight selected works.

“That shows there are a lot of wonderful North Carolina sculptural artists looking for a place to show off their work,” McLeod said.

The selections are:

•  “Semi-Circle Balance Study No. 14” by Matt Amante of Winterville, a 6-foot-tall, 75-pound piece made of stainless steel and river rocks. Amante’s work will be placed on the west pedestal in Horne Square.

•  “Love Arch” by Andrew Denton of Greenville, an aluminum and steel piece that portrays a man and a woman forming an arch that spans nearly 10 feet. The work will be displayed at the Clayton Community Center.

•  “Silent Sounds of Service” by Gary Gresko of Oriental, which features pieces made from recycled military artifacts that will turn with the wind. Gresko’s work will go on the east pedestal in Horne Square.

•  “Life Cycle” by Hanna Jubran of Grimesland, a 10-foot-tall stainless-steel work that will stand in the center of the new roundabout on the Front Street extension.

•  “Vortex,” by Nelson Smith of Rocky Mount, is made of stainless steel and concrete and features a “vortex” of interconnected rings. The work will be displayed on the center pedestal in Horne Square.

•  “Windchimes” by Adam Walls of Hope Mills, an 11-foot-tall, 800-pound piece made of steel. Walls’ sculpture will go on Town Square.

•  “He Stopped and Turned to See and Listen” by Charlie Brouwer of Willis, Va., a nearly 10-foot-tall, 250-pound man-like sculpture made of locust wood. The piece will be placed at Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library.

•  “Quetzacoatl’s Declination” by Robert Coon of Vero Beach, Fla., a bright, aluminum piece that stands 12 feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds. Coon’s work will be displayed on Town Square.

Jason Hardy, chairman of the Public Art Advisory Board, said the overall size of the pieces should have an impact throughout downtown.

“They are large, conversation-inducing pieces that will look good in the spots we have them,” Hardy said. “The ones we chose will really draw attention to public art in the town of Clayton.”

The town will pay the artists $1,000 each for lending their sculptures for one year. In addition, each artist can compete in a “People’s Choice” contest that will pay another $1,000 to the winner of a vote by the public.

To keep the sculpture trail going from year to year, McLeod said, the town needs private, community partners. Last year, Clayton spent close to $15,000 on the art trail.

“We need to help offset some costs with this,” McLeod said. “It doesn’t matter if a company gives $10 or $100, we just need some support to raise funds for this public art sculpture trail.”

Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104

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