Finish this sentence: “Before I die ...”
Now this one: “If I won the lottery ...”
And this one: “My favorite Clayton memory ...”
Clayton’s Public Art Advisory Board wants residents to fill in the blank for its next display around town.
Board chairman Jason Hardy said the group hasn’t picked which statement it will ask residents to complete, likely downtown on a large board or something of the sort. However, the board has agreed on the interactive concept for its next major project.
Student-crafted wooden cutouts of butterflies and birds made up the advisory board’s first project, along Sam’s Branch Greenway. The group followed that with the downtown sculpture trail, which showcases the work of artists and asks residents to vote on their favorite one.
In preparation for its third project, the board drew up a long list of possibilities, including Lego displays, “Paint the Town” events and decorative trash cans. Members agreed last month to pursue the “expression wall” concept.
“This will be the first one that anybody can participate in,” Hardy said.
Expression walls have become popular public art projects for clubs and local governments across the United States and abroad. Most use the “Before I die...” theme, but Hardy said the group might pick a different prompt.
“We often solicit citizen input in selecting what artwork, created by others, they think is best to display, but this project would allow citizens to actually take an active role in the artwork’s creation,” said advisory board member Frank Dziepak.
Dziepak, a photographer, said the town could take pictures of the board over time to create another display or run with a more-permanent exhibit from the start.
“The main objective, though, is to have a piece of public art that a Clayton resident, or I guess anyone else, could actually have the opportunity to contribute a piece of themselves to that would become a part of the Clayton downtown experience,” Dziepak said.
Board member Kathleen Nobles, a local painter, said the expression board would prompt people to stop and think about their secrets, wishes and hopes and then share them with the community.
“It is about knowing that you are not alone and understanding our neighbors in new and enlightening ways,” Nobles said.
The advisory board has set up a committee to iron out the details for the project. The group will now look for a space for the board and also craft a budget for the display. The Clayton Town Council must give the final OK.