08Natural Embrace photoThe city of Fayetteville, through the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, currently has several sculptures on display in various locations downtown.The complete exhibit is titled “Work in Progress.” The public art exhibit began two years ago with 11 sculptures. Because the sculptures are leased for 11 months, the current exhibit is the second rendition and is properly titled “Work in Progress 2.” There are now 17 sculptures on display. Private donors matched with Arts Council funding helps make them available to the Fayetteville community.The Arts Council is aiming to make one of them permanent.

The sculptures are distributed strategically to encourage visitors and residents alike to explore the downtown district. City leaders across the state have been inquiring into Fayetteville’s “Work in Progress” Art Exhibit to learn how they could also implement such an exhibit in their cities. Various groups, including one home school group of 50 students, have requested tours to view the sculptures and learn about the artists and meaning behind the art. The city’s new mobile app offers self-guided tours using an interactive map that shows where to find the sculptures. It’s available for both Android and iPhone and is free.

One sculpture in the exhibit has captured the hearts of many in the community. The public artwork is called “Natural Embrace” by sculptor Paul Hill. It is located at Person Street Plaza across from the Cumberland County Courthouse. The sculpture, made of metal, depicts a spiraling Venus fly trap. In a community wide survey, “Natural Embrace” was voted the favorite out of the 15 works of public art that were installed over the course of the year. There is currently a drive to raise funds to purchase it and make it permanent so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The price for Fayetteville to purchase the sculpture is $40,000. The Arts Council’s goal is to raise $20,000 through fundraising efforts, and then it will contribute up to $20,000 in matching funds. Donations have ranged from $1 from a young child to over $2,000 from a resident committed to the arts. So far, $17,752 has been raised. Janet Gibson, director of marketing and communications for the Arts Council, has no doubt the Arts Council will meet the goal by the deadline. “Thanks to the generosity of community donations, I am confident ‘Natural Embrace’ will be a permanent fixture in downtown Fayetteville,” she said.

If purchased, “Natural Embrace” will be the third permanent sculpture placed by the Arts Council in downtown Fayetteville. The sculptures “Tree of Good and Evil” and “Dancer” were both donations. Eric Lindstrom and Kennon Jackson donated the former and Dr. and Mrs. Patrick Callahan donated the latter.

Gibson explain that in the unlikely event that the Arts Council falls short of its goal of $20,000 to put toward purchasing “Natural Embrace,” the sculpture would move on to another city in September and donations would be returned. Donors would also be given an opportunityto repurpose their donations to the Art Council.

Learn more about the project at www.theartscouncil.com/naturalembrace


PHOTO: “Natural Embrace” is located at Person Street Plaza across from the Cumberland County Courthouse.

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