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Decatur City Commission approves agreement for bicentennial art installation

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Decatur City Commission approves agreement for bicentennial art installation

The Decatur City Commission approved an art installation in celebration of the city's bicentennial during its regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, at City Hall. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its Oct. 2 regular meeting, approved an agreement with Savannah College of Art and Design and a project budget of $62,300 for an outdoor sculpture celebrating the city’s bicentennial.

The sculpture will be installed in the side courtyard of the Decatur Conference Center at 130 Clairemont Ave. The space is an open plaza and the art installation provide a way to activate the space, Decatur Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said.

“The site was chosen for its ability to activate an underutilized open space as a public gathering space, accessible and visible to all,” Threadgill wrote in a memo. “A marker will be installed onsite identifying the artwork as a commemoration of the city’s bicentennial. All work will be completed under the guidance of the bicentennial planning team, and the art will become the property of the city of Decatur upon installation.”

According to the presentation attached to the agenda, the sculpture is meant to look engaging and fluid.

“It is reminiscent of the Serpentine Dance, which gained popularity in America in the late 1800s, wherein a performer would dance with large pieces of fabric to create forms that would easily catch light from all angles,” the presentation states.

The sculpture would be fabricated with steel, constructed using aluminum, and painted red. Small benches will be installed as well as an arc around the art installation.

“The space will be activated with color and pedestrian-friendly seating, and all forms will be secured safely to the cement,” the presentation states.

During public comment, SCAD Professor Kenneth Knowles said he has been working with the student who proposed the sculpture.

“The city’s always changing, it seems,” Knowles said. “I think because this piece is so dynamic, it will change as well. As you see it from different angles and different light, it’s really a celebration of creativity and adaptability.”

He added that the piece is about diversity, seeing things from different angles, looking forward, and movement.

The space is in need of something to attract people and invite them to spend time there, Mayor Patti Garrett said.

“We’re all looking forward to having more public art and spaces that people like to gather [at] and see something interesting while they’re there to have conversations,” Garrett said.

The city and the Downtown Development Authority would split the cost, and each entity would pay $31,150. The city’s portion of the funding would come from the general fund’s fund balance.

“Given that we are looking to have our formal celebration on Dec. 1 of this year…we anticipate the completion and installation by the end of November in time for the bicentennial celebration,” Threadgill said during the city commission meeting.

A slide from a presentation shows the planned sculpture celebrating Decatur’s bicentennial that will be located at 130 Clairemont Ave. Photo courtesy of the city of Decatur.

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