Public art gets a city-county commission

Public art gets a city-county commission
January 14
00:00 2016
Photo By Todd Luck
“Together We Rise” by African-American artist Vandorn Hinnant, which was commissioned by the City to honor its centennial, stands in Corpening Plaza.

By Todd Luck

The Chronicle

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will soon be taking steps toward creating a City-County Public Art Commission to help foster local public art.

Forsyth County Commissioners approved a city-county inter-local agreement for the commission on Monday. The City Council approved the agreement last month. The Public Art Commission will include artists, civic and business leaders, and community members passionate about public art. The commission will have a budget from the city that will be used for public art projects in Forsyth County and will be assisted by City-County Planning staff.

“There’s been a big interest in public art over the years and it’s actually been difficult to implement projects just because there’s been no dedicated group to do it,” said Kelly Bennett, a project planner with the City-County Planning Board, who added that  most major cities in the state already have a public art commission or advisory board.

One common issue with public art, according to the city-county public art plan, is that often artists or art groups have a challenge finding space to put public art. The commission can ease that process by finding city or county property for such projects. Public art will be done all over the city and county, not just in downtown where it’s most often found. The public art may be on public or private property and may be art in the public realm or art paid for by public funds.

According to the public art plan, the commission should reflect Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in race, ethnicity and demographics. County Commissioners will choose three to five appointees from nominations made by the towns that approved the public art plan.  The mayor will choose six appointees, which will be approved by City Council, from applicants in Winston-Salem.

Bennett said that a variety of members in the local art community were consulted in crafting the public art plan, like mural artist Marianne DiNapoli-Mylet, Arts Council President Jim Sparrow, Delta Arts Director Nadiyah Quander, and Endia Beal, director of the Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University.

Beal, who is also an artist known for her photography, said that she felt that the commission will be diverse and include diverse artists in its projects.

“There’ll be a variety of perspectives coming from various cultural backgrounds to really create an inclusive way in which individuals can showcase their talents,” she said.

Beal said African-American artists are well represented in local public art. She said Winston-Salem State University has the largest collection of public art in the city in its sculpture garden on campus. She also said Corpening Plaza in downtown Winston-Salem is home to a sculpture called “Together We Rise” by African-American artist Vandorn Hinnant, which was commissioned by the City to honor its centennial.

Bennett said that the new commission will help make projects like that one easier, since the City Council had to create a panel just to choose the design for the centennial art. The commission is expected to begin work later this year. Applications for the commission are currently being developed, which will be on the city and county websites.


About Author

Todd Luck

Todd Luck

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors