One thing people at the Arts in the Heart Festival are talking about: The plans for sculptures at the city’s gateways

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Tens of thousands of people are coming into the Garden City for the annual Arts in the Heart Festival. But there’s another art project people are talking about, too.

It’s no secret that Augusta wants to promote its art culture. Recently The Greater Augusta Arts Council held a competition for artists to create a sculpture at three of the Augusta gateways. However, commissioners are re-assessing the decision.

For 39 years Augusta has put its art culture on display during the festival. But the arts council wants to show off the city’s artwork every day. They selected two artists from other cities to create a sculpture at the Garden City gateways.

“I wasn’t the biggest fan, but that was before the explanation from the artist that was on TV explaining what they did,” explained Owner of Monster Art Studio, Jeff Riggan.

“I wasn’t blown away by either one,” said Owner of Billy S Images, Billy S. but I know you’re not going to have 100 percent acceptance from any sculpture.”

In the last commission meeting, commissioners voted to put the project on hold for 30 days. Jeff and Billy and other artists think commissioners should get together with local artists to come up with the perfect design.

“I would get a round table of all the local artist in town.” said Riggan. “If we can’t do the work like big huge metal sculptures, at the least come up with a concept that the people that do it for a living that they can now do that. Instead of something generic, they can something a little more personal to Augusta.”

The professional artist believes cyber is a big turning point for the River Region, with the influx of out-of-towners, but —

“I mean, don’t leave us out it, because it is tough to connect with local business if they don’t even know you,” explained Riggan. “Like ‘hey I have things we can hang here in for decor and support.”

“I would like a big heart,” said Billy S. “Because there is a lot of love here and a lot of good people here.”

And they hope city leaders will decide to make the sculpture interactive.

“They are just there when you see them,” said Riggan. “The one I that did, they put it in a place where it travels well, so people can come up and interact with the 125 years of Hapeville.

There is no timetable when Augusta Commissioner will continue with the gateway projects or if the stall will affect the second sculpture. Tune in to NewsChannel 6 as this story develops.

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