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With sculptures up, Hall’s bicentennial kicking off
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Artist Gregory Johnson's sculpture "Books Flying Off The Shelf II" is on display at the Hall County Government Center as part of the county's bicentennial celebration. Johnson also has another sculpture on the property that is part of the celebration. Both sculptures are on loan to the county for a year. - photo by Scott Rogers

Two of eight sculptures have been installed at the Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road as part of the county’s bicentennial celebration.

Forsyth County artist Gregory Johnson installed his two pieces for the bicentennial exhibit in early February, according to Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley, who is managing the bicentennial planning.

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Artist Gregory Johnson's sculpture "Plume" is on display at the Hall County Government Center as part of the county's bicentennial celebration. Johnson also has another sculpture on the property that is part of the celebration. Both sculptures are on loan to the county for a year. - photo by Scott Rogers
Johnson installed “Plume” near the entrance of the property at 2875 Browns Bridge Road, and “Books Flying off the Shelf II” sits close to the entrance of the building. Both are stainless steel and will be on county property for a year.

Johnson told The Times earlier this year that one of his sculptures was inspired by attempting to buy his son a “Harry Potter” book.

“I went into the bookstore, I think it was a Barnes and Noble, and those books were just flying off the shelf or sold out,” he said. “I thought, ‘What a great concept: Books flying off the shelf.’”

Johnson is one of several artists contributing eight pieces to the lot at the government center. Jane Hemmer is also contributing to the exhibit and has sculpted a red-tailed hawk, a bird native to Hall County, for the show.

“It’s a beautiful bird,” Hemmer told The Times in January. “It’s a predator and is a strong, resilient character that I think fairly represents our county. We’ve been through some hard times, certainly along with the rest of the country, but we’ve had our own particularly hard times.”

Pieces will be installed on concrete pads that have been placed around public areas of the complex. Artists were paid $1,000 upon installation and will be paid another $1,000 when the sculptures are removed, according to Crumley.

She said that most of the other sculptures in the exhibit should be in place by the end of the month.

Along with the sculptures, Hall County is planning public events for later this spring and summer to celebrate the county’s 200th birthday.

Created in 1818, Hall County was one of several counties carved from Cherokee land under the terms of a treaty, making North Georgia one of the launching points for the Trail of Tears. It was still being settled when the Civil War broke out, and Gainesville and Hall have throughout their existences been trading posts, health and vacation spots, agricultural hubs and much besides.

Crumley and the county are exploring the history of Hall through a television series also available online at the county’s hub for all bicentennial material. The first episode covers a broad overview of county history at the Northeast Georgia History Center.

The Times will publish a special edition to celebrate the bicentennial later this year.

Hall County was officially created on Dec. 15, 1818.

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