Art is a participatory sport:
The City of Suwanee’s Public Art Commission Chair, Lisa Winton, pitched the next temporary art project involving a measure of community engagement earlier this year. The plan is to repurpose children’s trophies (soccer, t-ball, baseball, football, gymnastics, chess, pinewood derby, band, chorus, drama, dance, spelling bees, etc.) to create a temporary outdoor sculpture.
“We’ve all received trophies for our accomplishments over the years, and know they pile up quickly without serving any real purpose after they’re awarded. They’re hard to part with because of the accomplishments they symbolize, but as they accumulate, they become less meaningful and more of a nuisance taking up precious storage space. Incorporating them into a piece of public art could provide the nudge many people need to donate them. Not only will they be displayed to the community, but they will go on to serve a far greater purpose than they could in an attic or storage locker.” – Abby Wilkerson, City of Suwanee, Public Information Officer
The community will be asked to donate these well-loved mementos during a work day where community members will be invited to assist in creating the sculpture. Trophy donors and community members alike will then be invited back to the grand unveiling of the piece during the Suwanee Arts Fest, May 2023.
Back to School with Community Art:
The upper stairwells of the Sugar Hill E Center fitness area feature the Lanier Highschool Art Gallery. The artwork is rotated quarterly by the Lanier High School Art Department to showcase different students’ work and classes. This functions as public education on mediums and techniques and an opportunity for students to showcase art outside of school. The public art collection in the E Center may also be worth noting. The building features several pieces, from the hyper-local emerging artists to established artists within Georgia. Several 4’x4’ paintings within the space were part of a collaboration between Lanier and North Gwinnett High Schools and the City Arts Commission. AP Art students created the paintings in a live environment during Sugar Rush Fall Festivals.
The City of Suwanee collaborated with honors art students from North Gwinnett High School to add a colorful new mural to what was a previously-boring utility enclosure wall. Located directly behind city hall, the mural Chinese New Year consists of animals in bright, fun colors representing the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. North Gwinnett sophomore Li Lin’s design was chosen from several applications by the Suwanee Public Arts Commission.
Lin’s design was inspired by a desire to represent everyone in the community while focusing on the individuality reflected in Suwanee’s residents. Under the leadership of teacher Dallas Gillespie, 19 students worked approximately 50 hours to complete the mural, which is part of the city’s seventh SculpTour exhibit.
It’s a Group Effort:
The Braselton Arts Council was created in 2022 during the master planning process. This fledgling board is chaired by Caryn McGarity, founder of the well-known Gwinnett Arts Festival, Barefoot in the Park and a Braselton Visitors Bureau Authority member. The council will spearhead new art projects and evaluate proposals to ensure they fit the established guidelines. Their first art project will be for the Braselton Library’s new children’s wing, currently under construction–details have not been determined.