“Chewy” by John Clement is a public sculpture in Macon’s Ocmulgee Heritage Park. Photo by Katie Clenney

On Thursday, August 23 the Community Foundation of Central Georgia held a public meeting to discuss public art in Macon. The meeting was led by Cesar Trasobares, a public art consultant from Miami, Fla. The goal was to begin the development of a comprehensive plan for public art, specifically in the College Hill Corridor. Other goals of the meeting were to consider appropriate ordinances regarding public art and discuss how the city might attract the creation of more public art.

Over the summer, Katie Clenney volunteered at Macon Arts Alliance (a Knight Arts grantee), helping to build a compilation of information that will eventually lead to a directory of public art to be featured on the organization’s new website, Ovations365.com. During her time working on the project, she compiled information and photos of several existing works of public art including murals, sculptures, monuments and architectural features. Looking through the work she documented, it is clear that the city needs a more deliberate strategy going forward.

The ability of Macon to create a comprehensive plan for public art will depend on the individuals and organizations who take up the cause. It will also depend on citizens dedicated to strengthening the community through public art. Since this process will be ongoing and the conversation is just beginning, I’d like to reach out to readers of this blog for more information.

What resources already exist to facilitate the process of creating a comprehensive plan for public art in a city like Macon, Georgia?

What types of public art prompt you to visit a city or location?

What are the best examples of neighborhood revitalization involving, or including, public art of which you are aware?

A comprehensive public art strategy requires a heightened level of engagement within a community, and I’d like to know what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


8 Responses to “Macon begins process to create a comprehensive plan for public art”

  1. Cantey Ayres says:

    Odd this should be asked today. I was looking at the Mercer bear across from the library on Washington Ave today waiting on a light to change. I do, ordinarily, like public art including sculptures and wall murals. I do not, however, like the Mercer Bears. That idea has been overdone in many cities and ours are a bit garish to me. They would be better located on the Mercer campus or Mercer Village exclusively.

    Also, do you sent membership renewals. Mine should be coming up soon I think and I do want to renew. Thanks so much.

    • Pam Thomasson says:

      Cities known for great public art also have an abundance of public parks, historic districts, beautiful architecture, shady sidewalks, bike lanes, and a creative class of citizens, philantrhopists, and corporations who support art and artists. Macon may not be Paris, Barcelona or Florence – but we have the raw ingredients in our town to cultivate public art that can enhance all of our lives. The question is – how best to make this happen? I think the Community Foundation’s public meeting was a terrific first step in that process. I’d love to get input from more people like Cesar Trasobares. Learning from the successful stategies used in other towns can help us to create a more comprehensive plan.

      • Jonathan Dye says:

        Thanks Pam. I agree that we have great raw ingredients. I hope this first meeting will lead us down the right path going forward.

    • Jonathan Dye says:

      Cantey, Thanks for your comment. You should receive a renewal notice in September, so be on the look out!

  2. Dona says:

    I love the playful little children sculptures at the shopping mall on Riverside. I would love to see more of that type of art in Macon. I don’t care much for the “Chewy” shown in the photo with this article. It seems a terrible waste of money to me.

    • Jonathan Dye says:

      Dona, Thank you so much for your comments. I’m glad that you enjoy the sculptures are the Shoppes at River Crossing. While those are great, they aren’t technically public art. They are located on private property and only accessible to the customers of the shopping center. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be enjoyed. It’s fantastic when companies include art in their developments. I think it’s great.

      As for “Chewy,” could you explain what you don’t like about it. And don’t worry about offending me, there is no possible way to create public art that everyone will like. Besides, that was created and installed before my time. I just want to learn as much as I can about why people do or do not like public art that already exists in Macon. I think it will help make the process stronger going forward.

      Feel free to email me at jondyeart@gmail.com. I’ll keep your comments confidential if you like.

    • Heidi Clinite says:

      When the Georgia Childrens Museum first opened on Cherry St, there were several metal sculptures of children on the sidewalk designed by a local artist. Over time, a few of them were destroyed by drunk people. Eventually, the rest were removed to protect them. This happened several times just like the bear statue that was smashed by drunk college students within days of it being placed in a public location. What can we do to protect public art and inform our society that it is everyone’s responsibility to do so?

  3. Hi Jonathan,
    So glad to see the Macon community excited and engaged about the existing and future vision of public art in Macon. I work at WESTAF (www.westaf.org) and one of the projects we’re spearheading is the Public Art Archive (www.publicartarchive.org), a database of national public art collections. I would love to see Macon’s public artworks added to the database and invite you to contact me at 303-629-1166 or email me raquel.vasquez@westaf.org so we can chat about adding your collection to the database. It’s so important that communities big and small be represented in the archive so that we can begin to build a national survey of public artwork collections of cultural heritage value and significance. I look forward to connecting.

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