Clayton News-Star

Ideas aplenty for Clayton’s next public art project

Residents walk by whimsical birds mounted on a fence along the Sam's Branch Greenway as part of Clayton's second public art display on the greenway.
Residents walk by whimsical birds mounted on a fence along the Sam's Branch Greenway as part of Clayton's second public art display on the greenway. FILE PHOTO

Lego displays, expression walls and “Paint the Town” events are on a long list of possible public art projects in Clayton.

The town’s Public Art Advisory Board, which fostered Clayton’s downtown sculpture trail and rotating student installations on Sam’s Branch Greenway, has started planning its third initiative. What that will be, exactly, won’t be decided for a few weeks, but a list of ideas released this week all involve public interaction.

“The first two projects involved children and voting on sculptures,” said Jason Hardy, the advisory board’s chairman. “This one ought to try to get the public involved in the creation of the project.”

Board members sent Hardy a list of about 30 possibilities, which the group will narrowed in coming weeks before taking a l vote. One idea is a Lego contest or display, where children and adults could make their own creations in a park setting or at the Clayton Community Center.

“You get them down there, and all the families could work on something,” board member Sara Perricone said.

Another idea is an expression wall or something of that sort, where residents could draw something or answer a basic question. For instance, “Before I Die” walls, which have become popular in the United States and abroad, invite people to write what they want to accomplish before they die.

“You can ask all sorts of questions,” board member Frank Dziepak said.

“Paint the Town” events, art walks, fruit trees, bench decorations and sand castle projects are just some of the other ideas under consideration.

Former town councilman James Lipscomb, of HomeTowne Realty, approached the board on Monday with another idea for the next project. Lipscomb showed examples of printed graphics that can serve as murals on the side of downtown buildings.

Lipscomb said a local company makes the graphics on digitally-printed canvas, which is stretched between two metal rods screwed to the buildings. He said the murals can promote public agencies, like the Downtown Development Association, or show images of local artwork.

“As long as we can get a quality digital print, they can reproduce it,” Lipscomb said.

Clayton created the Public Art Advisory Board in 2008. The town gives the group money for projects like the annual sculpture trail, a rotating collection of pieces installed throughout downtown.

Each year, board members also work with local art teachers, whose students paint wooden designs like birds and butterflies for display on Sam’s Branch Greenway.

With the success of its first two projects, the board is now looking for private sponsors to offset some of the town’s cost.

The advisory board expects to consider ideas for its third project again at its Nov. 18 meeting.