Suwanee Public Art Exhibit WITH City of Suwanee Unveils its 6th SculpTour Public Art Exhibit

Thirteen or so prominent new residents moved into Suwanee this spring! The sixth installment of the city’s popular SculpTour temporary sculpture exhibition was installed in Town Center this May.

Since 2011, the award-winning SculpTour program has brought 79+ sculptures to a walkable one-mile area of downtown Suwanee, not to mention the 11 of the 18 pieces in the city’s permanent collection. With goals to enliven Town Center, attract visitors and stimulate interest in Suwanee’s public art program, SculpTour adds to the sense of dynamism, energy, rhythm and ritual in the city.

“Art, in the public realm for the whole of the community, is an integral piece of our city’s personality,” said Suwanee City Council member Linnea Miller. “It’s not enough to simply create a ‘place.’ That place has to come alive – through art, events, activities and just making things fun. People need a reason to keep coming back and connecting.”

“Art is not just about culture or playing a key role in revitalization, it is about the fact that we can use art as the glue, the magnet, the anchor that brings a community together,” said Joe Bankoff, Former President & CEO of Woodruff Arts Center. “In today’s world, art equates to good jobs, a creative workforce and an attractive environment. It’s not just about building the arts, it’s about building the community.”

The SculpTour program has turbocharged the expansion of Suwanee’s permanent art collection: to date, SculpTour has resulted in the addition of eleven pieces to the city’s permanent collection through acquisitions or donations. The city has purchased at least one SculpTour piece each cycle, using “People’s Choice” voting as a guideline. In other instances, residents have stepped up to purchase SculpTour pieces and donated them to the city. Today, these pieces have found permanent homes at other Suwanee parks and in front of the public library branch, broadening the experience of public art throughout the community.

“Few suburban communities have a public realm that is as vital, cared for and central to the identity of the city as Suwanee’s parks and public spaces are,” commented Denise Brinson, Suwanee Assistant City Manager. “This provides Suwanee with a unique opportunity to add public art that is of special significance and endurance.”

Suwanee launched its public art initiative in 2008 with the formation of the City Council-appointed Public Arts Commission, established to create programs that bring and promote public art in Suwanee, and to work with and encourage developers to use one percent of construction costs to include public art or support public art as a component of new projects. Three years later, the first SculpTour was launched.

Currently, each round of SculpTour lasts approximately twenty- two months. Over the past eight years, downtown Suwanee has been the temporary home to a red dancer caught in mid-leap, a really tall giraffe, a phone booth that offers a heavenly connection, three Friends, a Humpty Dumpty doppelganger, a Dalmatian family and a herd of goats. These are but a few of the sculptures that have been included in Suwanee’s first five SculpTour exhibits.

In 2015, Suwanee partnered with an urban designer and planner to facilitate the development of a public art master plan. The charge for the plan was to set a vision and develop a ten-year strategy that would help take public art in Suwanee to the next level. The resulting plan reflected not only the city’s spirit, but also how public space is perceived and used in Suwanee and how public art can be an essential part.