Clayton-area students do a different kind of tweeting

ndunn@newsobserver.comMay 23, 2014 

Callin Kieffer rode his bike along Sam’s Branch Greenway on May 16. He stopped at a whimsical yellow and black bird – one of many hanging along a long fence about a mile into the trail.

“That one’s mine,” the Clayton Elementary School student said, pointing to the bird with an orange beak.

Kieffer was among dozens of elementary, middle and high school students who painted birds for the Town of Clayton’s second public art display on the greenway.

The first display opened last year, when the town partnered with North Carolina artist Georges Le Chevallier and Clayton High School art teacher Jane Roberts, who helped students paint more than 40 butterflies for display along the trail.

The birds replace the butterflies, which the town will sell at the annual Millstock art and music festival on June 7. Prices will range from $25 to $75, with proceeds benefiting the next outdoor public art project by students, the town says.

Students from Clayton High, Clayton Middle, Powhatan Elementary and Cooper Elementary painted close to 100 birds, 60 of which now line the greenway. Other birds are on display at The Clayton Center, and Johnston Health will place some in its expanded Clayton hospital.

“In a town like Clayton, you get to do these types of things,” said Jason Hardy, chairman of the town’s Public Art Advisory Board.

Town leaders unveiled the new display during a ceremony May 16; Student artists and their teachers posed for photos in front of their work.

With a donation from T.A. Loving Construction Co., Clayton High shop teacher Larry Hooks and Scott Williams of Johnston Health cut out the birds, Roberts said.

Le Chevallier, of Garner, designed and installed the whimsical birds. He also designed the butterflies along with the greenway’s permanent steel and aluminum butterfly benches, bike rack and totem pole.

“I have worked many years and in many cities and towns, and I have to acknowledge the people of Clayton, who are great supporters of the arts,” Le Chevallier said during the unveiling ceremony.

The greenway art display was the town’s first venture into public art. Clayton has since launched a downtown sculpture trail, another repeating series that this year will feature works by eight artists from three states.

Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104

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