2010 Winners of Art in Public Places of Bristol Selected

June 23, 2010

State Street is about to become more artful, as new sculptures have been selected to be placed around downtown Bristol.

Tuesday, the winners of the fifth annual Outdoor Sculpture Competition of Art in Public Places of Bristol were announced. There were 42 sculpture entries by 21 artists this year, and six winners were selected.

The winning entries are “Topdisc” by Carl Billingsley of Ayden, N.C.; “Samuel’s Altar” by Shawn Morin of Bowling Green, Ohio; “Volute” by Dale McEntire of Saluda, N.C.; “Windsock for the Aliens” by Wayne Trapp of Vilas, N.C.; “Tower of Babel” by Cliff Tresner of Monroe, La.; and “Ker-Plunk” by Adam Walls of Pembroke, N.C.

“It’s a wonderful compliment,” Trapp said. “This is all that I do. When one of them is selected for a show, it’s kind of an endorsement by people.”

Trapp said his large silver sculpture, “Windsock for the Aliens,” is a fantasy piece.

“It is futuristic so that the aliens might see it and land,” he said, adding that it is more high tech than his usual pieces.

“I have dreams and make them happen. That’s my philosophy,” said Trapp, who has made sculptures for more than 40 years and has a studio with his own sculpture garden in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Trapp’s art is all over the world. He said he tries to make his pieces as universal and as timeless as possible.

Tresner, who recalled the Old Testament in his work “Tower of Babel,” which is a tower of words and letters, said he was proud to have his piece selected.

The work is about communication and miscommunication, he said, adding that words are not always the best tools for communication. While he has often used words in his drawings, this is the first sculpture in which he has used words and letters to convey his message. Tresner, who has been teaching sculpture and drawing at the University of Louisiana in Monroe since 1997 and is the director of their Sculpture Garden, also advocated the 24-hour accessibility of the sculptures in Art in Public Places. He called it “art for everybody.”

“Big sculptures are a public art for sure,” Trapp said, adding that it is “very important for children to grow up around and for adults to relax and enjoy.”

This year, the winners were selected by Hank Foreman, an artist, art administrator and educator at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He is also the director and chief curator for ASU’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the assistant vice chancellor for arts and cultural affairs.

Entries could come from anywhere in the United States, said Candy Snodgrass, chairwoman of Art in Public Places. This year, the entries came from many states, including New York, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Missouri, Illinois and South Carolina. The works could not exceed 15 feet or 500 pounds.

Snodgrass said the number of winners selected depends on the amount of money they have. Each winning artist receives $1,000 and is put up in a hotel when the pieces are installed in August. Additionally, the organization has to pay the juror.

But, if selected, she said, each artist is responsible for transporting his or her work to Bristol.

There are currently 13 winning pieces from previous years within walking distance of downtown Bristol, and Snodgrass said she would love for at least some of them to stay, if permitted by the artists.

Snodgrass said the locations of the new pieces will be determined in the next few weeks, as the organization determines which current pieces will remain. The new pieces will be installed Aug. 4 and will remain in Bristol through August 2011.

Art in Public Places is a community art project that began in 2006 and is implemented by the Art in Public Places committee of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. However, Snodgrass said the organization is about to become a stand-alone nonprofit in the next two to three weeks because of its growing size. It is funded through donations from businesses and individuals.

by Amber Tunnell, Bristol Herald Courier