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Wake Forest’s growing art presence

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Six new outdoor sculptures and five murals have been added to Wake Forest’s growing collection of public art, listed on a self-guided walking tour at 18 pieces. These temporary additions are the second installation by the Public Art Commission and will be on display through June 2020.

Large scale colorful murals on brick vinyl wrap are applied to buildings on Taylor, White and Brooks streets, and the sculptures are located around the downtown and at Smith Creek Soccer Park and range from realistic to abstract. Orpheus, in Miller Park, is a lyre, surrounded by musical notes and an obvious homage to the Greek musician poet and prophet by that name.

I’m not sure about the interpretation of the two open-work hearts, red at the Renaissance Center and silver in the Depot Parking Lot. They could either be broken, or open to love. Take your pick. Terrestrial Horizon is a bright splash of color at the Wake Forest Town Hall, and stained-glass panels catch the light at Taylor and Elm and at the soccer center.

I enjoy seeing more and more public art come to town, but my personal favorite is unnamed and unacclaimed. I think of it as the Chalk Road Boneyard. It’s not quite on the scale of Wilson’s Whirligig Park, but it has its charm and is still a work in progress. I love driving by and seeing all the brightly painted posts and wheels and machine parts and the skeletons (replicas, of course, not real) that move around from place to place and are sometimes dressed quite fetchingly.

There is often some new bit of kitsch in residence, sometimes permanently ensconced like the giant rooster that moved from just up the road, and sometimes temporarily added to the panorama of discarded cars and machines.

I keep hoping I’ll drive by one day and see the artist at work so I can stop and thank him for all the smiles he gives me.

Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.

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