Viewing public art might be one of the most underrated ways to spend a sunny afternoon in Hall County without making a dent in your wallet.
Twenty-eight works of art are featured in a self-guided tour, with three additional pieces located off the map as suggestions, and all of the pieces can be viewed for no charge.
A public arts initiative launched to create a way for residents and visitors alike to enhance their lives by visiting pieces of public artwork. It’s part of Vision 2030, a program run by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce that strives to improve the community.
“Great communities have great art,” said Amanda McClure, executive director of the Quinlan Visual Arts Center. She is also a member of the public art committee, which is a subcommittee of Vision 2030.
Vision 2030 began in 2005 as a way to incorporate the wants and needs of the community, which included a public arts program.
The Quinlan, The Arts Council and Brenau University serve as partners of the initiative.
“I have been trying to get public art here for years, and when I would talk about public art, you would kind of see eyes glaze over,” said Gladys Wyant, who has been the executive director of The Arts Council for 31 years and served as a member of the public art committee.
“Arts Council’s mission is to educate, enhance and expand public interest in the arts, so this fits perfectly in our mission,” Wyant said.
Her persistence paid off, but it took about two years to pick and choose public artworks for the tour’s brochure.
Public safety, noise and possible weather damage had to be taken into consideration when choosing from the existing artwork.
“We want it to be acceptable for the community, to fit our community,” Wyant said.
Most of the compositions featured in the map and tour can be viewed by vehicle or walking, but others require a bit more effort due to their location, like the three pieces inside the Northeast Georgia Medical Center North Tower and two more that sit in the gardens of the hospital.
Another piece named “Morgan’s Raiders” was commissioned as part of a program to get people back to work in the 1900s and can be found in the federal courthouse on Washington Street in Gainesville.
Other works in the collection are more easily found, like the huge tiger sculpture on the grounds of Brenau University or the horse in front of the Quinlan, both of which can be seen by traveling on Green Street in Gainesville.
The tower at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue on Clarks Bridge Road was recently repainted by Argentinian urban artist Franco “Jaz” Fasoli in 2013, and it only took Fasoli three days to paint the tower’s mural.
“It was kind of incredible to watch, really,” said Wyant.
Also, the tour serves as a way to catalog Hall County’s public arts and comes at no charge to taxpayers, as it is completely paid for by contributions and donations.
The Quinlan’s new sculpture garden might be added sometime in the future, as the garden wasn’t finished by the time the brochures were made.
Applications can be sent in for artists to submit their work for an opportunity to reproduce two-dimensional works as part of the public art initiative. Ten pieces will be selected for a three-year public installation in Hall County.
Tour maps can be found at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, the Quinlan, the Smithgall Arts Center, Brenau, Gainesville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau, among others.