Community reacts to proposed gateway designs


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The gateway art project is underway with the unveiling of two proposed sculptures. In an informal and unscientific NewsChannel 6 poll, most of you don’t care for the “stacked pots” look on the right. And according to your comments on social media, even more of you don’t like either sculpture.

Many of you say neither idea captures a local feel, because they aren’t from local artists. Are you on to something here? NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson went down to artists row to ask our local art community what they think about the project.

Art should create a conversation. If you don’t feel anything, then the work failed its job. Well, two proposed gateway designs from national artists have people talking in town and online.

“Their interpretation of what Augusta means to us is sometimes is surface level,” explained owner of 4P Studios, Regina Brejda. “They can’t dig deep enough, and they are not ingrained in the trenches with the community we have here.”

The Greater Augusta Arts Council has unveiled models of the sculptures to be installed at the intersection of Alexander Drive and RiverWatch Parkway. But “Facebook Nation,” says neither captures a local feel, because local artists didn’t create them.

“I would like public input from them,” said Brejda. “What they envision representing the community, and how artistic culture represents whatever sculpture is chosen could impact their particular area.”

Another artist who competed in the gateway contest says; even if a local artist’s work was chosen, there is a chance the community wouldn’t like it either.

“Having a maquette that is only two feet tall is different from 26 feet,” explained Wesley L. Stewart. “The grand scale of things is a lot different.”

Stewart told Devin the council wanted a professional artist on the project. The local artist believes they will choose a local artist on the future gateway projects.

“But at the same time, if a famous artist came down and did the work themselves, I would be just as happy,” said Stewart. “Because people go to places like Chicago or New York to see international artists, not just local artists.”

The owner of 4P Studios says she hopes this conversation will end the disconnect between the local arts community, and the arts council.

“Augusta if you’re going to speak up online and hide behind your keyboard, and say you don’t like it; then you have to get out there and be actively involved in the community to participate in these competitions.”

Newschannel 6 wants to hear your opinion on the sculptures.

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