Jonesboro should offer public spaces for art — CURT YEOMANS

And, you thought my views on art in Jonesboro would be limited to one column.

Trust me, there is a lot more to be said on the matter.

This may come off sounding harsh but it needs to be said: Jonesboro’s public parks are not aesthetically pleasing and its downtown area could use a little visual flair to make its Streetscape redevelopment efforts really pop.

Granted, the city never expected to have Lee Street Park dumped in its lap by county officials last year, but a lot of parks in the city look the same.

They are essentially open fields with a some sort of small structure. There may be a playground as well but that is it as far as aesthetics go.

Here is an idea: Use the parks as open-air exhibit spaces for sculptors to display their works on a rotating basis.

Imagine what Lee Street Park could look like with a couple sculptures in it.

The city should invite Arts Clayton, Clayton State University and the school system to use these public spaces to exhibit work. Arts Clayton has an army of artists who could probably come up with a few pieces. Students do study art at the university and the school system has art magnet programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

All of these artists could use more places to exhibit their work and the city of Jonesboro isn’t flush with cash so offering its parks up as temporary exhibit spaces might be a win-win for everybody.

That brings us to the point about the need for art in downtown Jonesboro in general.

Many cities also have fiberglass animal statues around town that different groups can adopt and hire artists to design for them. Athens has bulldogs around town. Many cities have cows. A few do swans.

Perhaps Jonesboro could encourage the placement of artistic goats around town in honor of the goat man who occasionally wandered through town many decades ago and is now commemorated in the mural on the side of the Arts Clayton Gallery.

There don’t have to be many of these statues. The city doesn’t have a big downtown area so it would only need four or five at the most.

Perhaps Jonesboro and a few other cities could come together and do swans or Loch Ness Monsters since they are big parts of Clayton State University’s identity.

The cities could perhaps approach the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce or the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau about doing this.

The website for Buffalo, Minn.-based Fiberstock Fiberglass Creations shows just how creative cities can get.

Kitty Hawk, N.C., commissioned the company to make Pegasus statues that local artists painted. One horse was designed to look like the Joker from the Batman comics. Another was designed to look like a sea creature (it was put near the ocean, after all). There is also a Scottish-themed horse and a disco ball-themed horse.

There are many other examples.

Great Falls, Mont., and Buffalo, Minn., had buffalo statues done for their cities. There are also mermaids in Norfolk, Va.; Virginia Tech Hokie statues in Blacksburg, Va.; fish in Madison County, Mont.; train cabooses in Fisher, Ind., and sailboats in Waconia, Minn.

It’s not too late for Jonesboro, or for Clayton County. This can still be done.

Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 247 via email at cyeomans@news-daily.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.


Michael 1 year, 6 months ago

If private entities want to commission the art work, place it, and keep the graffiti cleaned off of the "art" I have no problem. But, the government doesn't need to be providing support for any "art" that is not commercially viable.


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