If you ever once said, “Fayetteville needs more culture,” then it’s time to boot up the old PC or Mac and let the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County know you want public art, and lots of it.
    For about a month now, the Arts Council — at its Web site, www.artscouncil.com — has posted a public online art survey to get your input about what kind of public art you want to see in the community.
    {mosimage}The Arts Council is partnering with the Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce to develop a Public Art Master Plan for Fayetteville/Cumberland County, and your feedback is needed for this ambitious project.
    “We’ve only had about 100 surveys filled out so far,” said Deborah Martin Mintz, executive director of the Arts Council. “We’d love to have about 1,000 filled out.”
    While most people confine their idea of what is public art to statues and sculpture, there really are many classifications of public art, said Martin Mintz.
    Public art can be defined as anything designed or created with the assistance of an artist and located in a public place.
    It can be:
    • Temporary or permanent, inside or outside;
    • Part of a building or freestanding;
    • Sculpture, murals, lighting effects, electronic or video art;
    • Street furniture, utility covers, paving, railings, posters, bridges and signs;
    • Be sophisticated in its ideas and fabrication or simple in its form and content.
    Most of all, public art reflects the personality of the community. 
    Included on the survey, which is completely anonymous, are “yes” and “no” questions such as, “Have you seen public art in other cities?” and, “Have you used any transit systems with art in the stations, noticed it in any airports, along highways or integrated into bridges?”
    It’s a short, two-page survey that can be finished in minutes, yet is so important to improving not only the quality of public art here in Fayetteville, as well as the culture.
    “Public art builds and reflects a town’s culture,” said Michelle Horn, assistant curator/director of the Fayetteville Museum of Arts. “And it can be anything, such as a sign or a bench or a lamp post or even a trash receptacle. Public art improves the perception of a town and the people who live there.”
    Gallery 208 is testing that theorem by hosting a trio of new sculptures at the offices of Up and Coming Weekly on the day the artist, Paul Hill, was in town to put the pieces together.
    “I love the big giraffe,” said 7-year-old Raheem McMillan, son of Roberta McMillan, both of Fayetteville.
    The 11-foot-tall giraffe, called, Natural Progression, also caught Roberta’s eye as she and her child walked to a nearby convenience store for a cold drink on the hot day.
    “It’s just beautiful,” said McMillan. “We need more stuff like this in Fayetteville.”
    Natural Progression is one of three sculptures now on display at Gallery 208, including Once Too Often and Insatiable. All three pieces are by Paul Hill of Wilmington.
    To keep more art like this coming to Fayetteville, don’t forget to go to the Arts Council Web site and fill out your free survey.

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