A collection of media features on the Greater Augusta Arts Council, projects, and events.
“Golden Blocks Virtual Tour lets you see hidden history around you”
published by WJBF, March 10, 2021
By Brandon Dawson
Augusta is a city filled with rich black history. Now, with the help of technology, you can take a virtual walking tour and discover the hidden history all around you.
Black History Month may be over, but thanks to the Golden Blocks Virtual Tour, years of history is right at your fingertips. We sat down with historian Corey Rogers who told us why having access to black history is so important.
“Artists needed for Augusta storm drain mural project”
published by Fox 54, March 2, 2021
By Abby Bradshaw
It all flows into the Savannah. That’s the idea behind a new storm drain mural project in downtown Augusta, and the Greater Augusta Arts Council is looking for help to make it happen.
Aside from beautifying the streets and sidewalks, it’s an outreach and education project about storm water pollution. So, whenever people see a storm drain mural downtown, the idea is for it to grab their attention and inspire them to help keep our waterways clean.
The murals will be placed at 12 storm drains around the downtown area, such as the intersection of 12th and Broad by Mellow Mushroom.
“Augusta blazes a new sculpture trail”
Published by Aiken Standard, Feb 21, 2021
By Tom Mack
Cities across the globe are waking up to the benefits of public art. Not only do such works enliven the urban core for the residents themselves but they also entice visitors to spend more time (and money) in the heart of the city. Consider Zan Wells’s interactive “Mice on Main” installation in downtown Greenville, which serves as the focus of a playful scavenger hunt for children and their parents. A visit by Aiken civic leaders to Greenville a couple of years ago resulted in an increased interest in enhancing our city’s many attractions through the addition of public art, hence the mounting of such works as David Cianni’s “Atoms in Space” in front of the Savannah River Site Museum.
Augusta, our neighboring city across the river, is no stranger to public art. The downtown is already the beneficiary of some notable outdoor murals, including Cole Phail’s monumental “The History of Funk.” Winner of the James Brown Mural Project, this particular work, which covers the entire side of a building at the corner of 9th and Broad Streets, includes five portrait images, each one representative of a different phase in Brown’s legendary career.
Augusta Sculpture Trail finished, artists discuss creations
Published by The Augusta Chronicle Feb 20, 2021
By Miguel Legoas
Downtown Augusta has been decorated with 11 new sculptures that range from colorful and silly to elegant and complex.
The sculptures are spread out across the downtown area as part of a new Sculpture Trail by the Greater Augusta Arts Council. Executive Director Brenda Durant said the idea is to spur economic development downtown, pride in the community and give people another reason to visit downtown.
“Artist Search Underway for Golden Blocks Phase 2”
Published by The Augusta Press, February 4th, 2021
By Charmain Brackett
VIA The Augusta Press – “Applications are being accepted for the second phase of a public art project.
“We want to engage with the treasure of cultural history which is the Golden Blocks,” said Pax Bobrow, the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s project manager, “Our city has an incredibly rich and diverse cultural heritage.”
The arts council along with the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and the City of Augusta Housing and Community Development are collaborating on this project. The National Endowment for the Arts provides additional funding.”
Read the Full Story Online HERE: The Augusta Press Article
“Golden Blocks Public Art Project Phase 2”
Published by Augusta CEO, February 1st, 2021
VIA AUGUSTA CEO – “The Greater Augusta Arts Council and the Lucy Craft Laney Museum are thrilled to announce that the application for The Golden Blocks Project Phase 2 is open immediately for applications. This project is made possible by a collaboration between the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, the Greater Augusta Arts Council, and the City of Augusta Department of Housing and Community Development, with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.”
“Ribbon cutting to mark launch of Augusta Sculpture Trail”
Published by WRDW News 12, Jan 26, 2021
By Tradesha Woodard
VIA WRDW News 12 – “The city of Augusta and the Greater Augusta Arts Council will hold a ribbon cutting for the new sculpture trail.
The event will be from 1-3 p.m. Feb. 6 on the Augusta Common at Reynolds Street.
Speakers will include Mayor Hardie Davis; Bennish Brown with the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau; Commissioner Sean Frampton; Brenda Durant, executive director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council; Margaret Woodard, Downtown Development Authority; and emcee Jay Markwalter from the Georgia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Music will be provided by Karen Gordon, and live painting by local artist Billy S.”
“Augusta Sculpture Trail: Lifting spirits one piece at a time”
Published by WRDW News 12, Jan 22, 2021
By Tradesha Woodard
VIA WRDW News 12 – “If you’ve walked around downtown Augusta recently, you’ve probably seen some new attractions along Broad Street.
Ten new sculptures are now on display, ones that have been in the works for some time. It’s all a part of the Augusta Sculpture Trail initiative by the Greater Augusta Arts Council.
The council has made it a priority to make the city an arts destination. And we wanted to find out the story behind all the artworks.
It’s a variety of ideas and inspirations from artists hoping to leave you breathless at your first glance.”
“Sculpture show taking form in Augusta”
Published by WJBF, Jan 21, 2021
By George Eskola
Via WJBF – “The latest artistic effort for the Garden City is taking shape. The final pieces for the Augusta Sculpture Trail are going up.
The Arts council leased 10 sculptures, that are set up across different parts of downtown. They will be part of a walking tour.”
“Arts in the Heart 2021 canceled, smaller festival planned”
Published by WJBF, Jan 24, 2021
By Wes Cooper
Via WJBF – ““The word of last year I say was pivot and because we’re an arts organization I say we’ve been doing a pirouette for the last 10 months,” said Greater Augusta Arts Council Executive Director Brenda Durant.
Arts in the Heart is canceled for 2021 but the Greater Augusta Arts Council hopes to hold a smaller event in the third week of September, the ArtsCity Festival.
Durant explained, “It would be limited food booths but a lot of take out from downtown restaurants which will help our restaurants that have needed it and we’ll put a lot of tables out and people can enjoy some of the best features of the Arts in the Heart festival.””
“Augusta getting a sculpture trail as part of plan to make city more arts-friendly”
Published by WRDW News 12, December 1, 2020
By Ciara Cummings
VIA WRDW News 12 – “The city is getting a new sculpture trail.
Ten art pieces will be erected across the downtown area. The Greater Augusta Arts Council told News 12 Tuesday this is part of its continued efforts to make the city an arts destination.
They say this is another chance for the public to appreciate all the creativity the city has to offer in a COVID-safe way.”
ARTS AND HUMANITIES: Public artwork commemorates neighborhood identity
published by Aiken Standard, Oct. 10, 2021
by Tom Mack
Some are personal items, such as a skateboard, a tricycle and a patio chair. Others are articles salvaged from area businesses and educational institutions: window weights from a burned residence, textile bobbins from the historic King Mill, and bricks and steel from the abandoned Martha Lester School. The boxes, 12 on each side with a single large box as the crosspiece, form a triumphal arch not unlike those erected by ancient Romans to celebrate military victories. This particular arch, however, serves as not only a neighborhood memorial but also a time capsule of sorts, encasing items of significance to area residents.
“A call for local artists: Sculpture on the Augusta Canal Trail”
Published by WRDW News 12, August 26, 2020
Report by Tyria Goines
Via WRDW – “Do you want to showcase your artistic abilities? The Greater Augusta Arts Council invites local artists to submit proposals for a newly commissioned public art sculpture.
Georgia Rehabilitation Institute Inc. in association with the Greater Augusta Arts Council and the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, will commission the creation and installation of one exterior public art sculpture on the Augusta Canal Trail.”
“Artist’s secret to James Brown mural in Augusta: ‘Keep it funky’ “
Published by WRDW News 12, August 19, 2020
Report by Tradesha Woodard
Via WRDW – “If you’ve been around downtown Augusta lately, you’ve seen the new mural in the works that’s dedicated to the Godfather of Soul. While it looks like the work is almost done, the artist behind it says there’s more to come. Although the mural isn’t quite finished, it provides different scenery in downtown Augusta.
“I never look at the clock when I’m on the lift and I’m painting. I’m in my element. I could be there for 25 hours if my body could take it,” said Cole Phail, the artist behind the James Brown mural. “His songs have a common theme: Keep it funky,” the artist said. “So my goal is to keep it as funky as possible.” From 6 at night to sunrise, he’s working. And he says the community couldn’t be more supportive.”
Arts in the Heart of Augusta: Coverage of the 2020 Cancellation
“‘Its been difficult for arts’: Pandemic poses challenge to local artists”
Published by WRDW News 12, July 26, 2020
Report by Kennedi Harris
Via WRDW – “The cancellation of several art shows and events, including Augusta’s Arts in the Heart festival, have left many artists facing a new struggle.
“Everybody’s just trying to be creative and do what they can and come up with creative ways to get through and basically just survive 2020” said local artist Rachel Bingaman.
Bingaman has been painting professionally for 8 years. She says she’s seen at least a 5 figure loss in sales this year due to the pandemic.”
“Locals react to the cancellation of Arts in the Heart”
Published by WJBF, July 23, 2020
Report by Wes Cooper
Via WJBF – “Arts in the Heart, the latest event to be canceled due to coronavirus. It means about a $1.7 million hit to the local economy.
“We would be asked to be socially distanced at the festival and our festival just doesn’t work that way. Even though we space the artists’ booths more and we made it more for our attendees, it was not going to be socially distanced,” said Brenda Durant, Executive Director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council.
Karis Melchior, an employee at Artsy Me said, “I completely understand like why it’s canceled just because we need to protect the public and things like that. But I hate it for our artists and the money that it brings. And the enjoyment everyone gets from it.”
“Art Council cancels Arts in the Heart of Augusta 2020 festival”
Published by WFXG, July 23, 2020
Report by Mary Klinger
Via WFXG – “The Greater Augusta Arts Council announced they are canceling the 2020 Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival due to COVID-19.
The council says “The recent surge in COVID-19 cases and unprecedented pandemic mandates precautions for the well-being of our community.”
On Arts in the Heart of Augusta’s website, coordinators say “It is with a heavy heart that the City of Augusta and the Greater Augusta Arts Council has to announce that the award-winning festival will not be held this year. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases and unprecedented pandemic mandates precautions for the well-being of our community.”
“Arts in the Heart canceled due to COVID-19 concerns”
Published by WRDW News 12, July 23, 2020
Report by Jeremy Turnage and Celeste Springer
Via WRDW – “With fears of COVID-19 still causing many events to be canceled locally, statewide, and nationwide, festival organizers with Arts in the Heart say they are canceling their event, as well. Festival organizers say the recent spike in COVID-19 cases pushed them to make the decision.
“As we cautiously planned the 2020 Festival it was heartwarming to receive support with over 185 applications for the Fine Arts and Craft Festival, Performing applications to fill the 5 stages and nearly 20 International Food Booths. Our media sponsors and major sponsors were working with us to produce another wonderful celebration of everything ‘art’ in Augusta,” a statement from the group said.
The announcement was a pretty big blow as this year’s festival was supposed to bring in about $1.7 million.”
“Artist relief fund distributes $50,000, completing its work”
Published by WRDW News 12, July 21, 2020
Via WRDW.com – ” A pandemic relief fund for local artists has completed its work with the distribution of 114 grants totaling $50,000
The Artist Emergency Relief Awards have been overseen by the Augusta Arts Consortium and made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of the CSRA and the United Way of the CSRA.
This effort was an emergency fund to help self-employed/contract artists of all disciplines in the CSRA to recover income lost from cancellations due to COVID-19 precautionary measures. ”
“Best Festival in the South award given to Arts in the Heart of Augusta”
Published by WFXG, May 4, 2020
Report by Ceara Hester
Via WFXG – “The Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival was awarded the 2020 Top Festival of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Society (STS).
The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards has put the best festivals and events of the Southeast in the spotlight for the past 34 years. STS is a non-profit organization that promotes travel and tourism within 12 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.”
“Laney-Walker mural unveiled as part of public art project”
Published by the Augusta Chronicle, August 4, 2019
Report By Charmain Brackett
Via Augustachronicle.com – “The first phase of a new public art project was installed in Augusta’s Laney-Walker historic district Wednesday.
‘This is one of four works in the Golden Blocks project,” said Brenda Durant, the executive director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council. “The four artists have chosen to work together.”
Artist Sala Adenike created the mural, which highlights four African-Americans and their accomplishments. Its subjects are John P. Waring Sr. and the Lenox Theatre, the Rev. Charles Walker and Tabernacle Baptist Church, Lucy Craft Laney and the Haines Institute, and Jerrylyn Dent and the Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance Co.”
“Plans for New Art Projects Abound in Augusta’s Growing Economy”
Published by BuzzonBiz, May 25, 2019
Report by Wit Wells
Via buzzonbiz.com -“…”What really inspired me is that arts really are an engine for economic prosperity, because people come out of their hiding holes and spend money on the arts,” Bobrow said.
The council’s ongoing effort to enliven the arts scene in Augusta stems from the same conclusion expressed in Arts and Economic Prosperity 5: that local economies benefit significantly from having a thriving arts scene.
According to the study, one-third of attendees of arts-focused festivals and events come from out of town, and they spend twice as much money at those events as locals do ($47.57 per person versus $23.44 per person).”
“Artist preserving Summerville’s history on utility box”
Published by WRDW News 12, January 25, 2018
Report by Jason Raven
Via WRDW.com -“Neighbors and passerby’s in one of Augusta’s historic neighborhoods have been thanking artist Cyndy Epps.”Typically you paint a painting and put it up on a wall. You’ll hear some feedback but this has been a cool experience,” Cyndy says. Cyndy is painting on a utility box on Gould’s Corner (at the intersection of Walton Way and Milledge Road) in the Summerville neighborhood.
“The Artside: This call for artists will affect future art for Augusta”
Published by the Augusta Chronicle, January 17, 2018
Written By Charmain Z. Brackett
Via Augusta.chronicle.com -“The Greater Augusta Arts Council has been working with the city of Augusta and its officials to create more public art opportunities for artists. It’s currently looking for nominations of local artists to serve on a public arts’ advisory panel.
The panel is comprised of city leaders, artists and members of the community.
‘Years of work have brought the desire for more expressive public art in Augusta to an all-time high,” said Pax Bobrow, project manager with the Greater Augusta Arts Council, in a news release. “The Public Arts Advisory Panel will help us build a framework for the city to unleash that creative energy.’
“Comprehensive study details economic impact of Augusta’s arts community”
Published by the Augusta Chronicle, November 18, 2017
Written By Joe Hotchkiss
Via Augusta.chronicle.com -“The arts don’t just nourish the soul. They provide potent fuel for an economic engine.
The Greater Augusta Arts Council has known that for a while, but recently it learned the dollars-and-cents details: Arts and culture generate more than $57 million in direct economic activity for the greater Augusta area.
That was one of the biggest takeaways from the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 survey project, described as the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in the United States.
” Editorial: For art’s sake, Help define our community by embracing public art”
Published by the Augusta Chronicle, October 22, 2017
Written By the Augusta Chronicle Editorial Staff
Via Augusta.chronicle.com -“Why have public art?
The reasons for having public art in Augusta don’t loom as large as all that – but that doesn’t make public art any less important.”
“Public art can help create community pride, unify residents, expert says”
Published by the Augusta Chronicle, October 17, 2017
Written By Damon Cline
Via Augusta.chronicle.com – With the last major installation of public art occurring nearly two decades ago, Augusta is a little behind the culture curve.
“One of the conversations that I always get from anywhere I visit is that ‘We’re so behind in public art…that everyone else is doing something awesome,’ ” said Patricia Walsh, public art program manager for Americans for the Arts. “No, you’re not. It’s OK, we’re seeing growth across the country (in small- and mid-size markets).”
“Arts in the Heart a brilliant ray of sunshine after Irma”
Published by the Metro Spirit, September 23 2017
Written By Amanda Main and Stacey Eidson
Via Metrospirit.com -“A few days before Hurricane Irma brought tropical weather to the Augusta area, Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival organizers were wary of what effects it might have on their festival, held the weekend after. The tropical storm blew through on Sept. 11, and the festival took place Sept. 15 through Sept. 17.
But thankfully, the weather cleared up a few days before, and despite losing a day of work to the storm, organizers, volunteers and other festival workers came together to put on a bigger, more successful festival in its 37th year.”
“Have a Say About Public Art in Augusta”
Published by the Metro Spirit, September 23 2017
Written By The Insider
Via Metrospirit.com -“Calling all artists and everyone else in Augusta who cares about future public art in the Garden City. The Greater Augusta Arts Council will be hosting a community input session on public art on Tuesday, Aug. 8, in the Linda Beazley Conference Room at the Municipal Building starting at 5:30 p.m. Specifically, local Augusta artists are invited to share their thoughts and ideas about the city’s future public art projects and provide the Greater Augusta Arts Council some much-needed input. If citizens and local artists show up, this could prove to be an interesting and beneficial meeting. This meeting could put the word “public” back into “public art.”
“Plans in the works to bring more art to the Garden City”
Published by WJBF, May 8 2017
Via WJBF.com -“Augusta is home to the Savannah River, Augusta National, and multiple historic districts. Still, civic leaders say one thing is lacking– public art that distinguishes the Garden City.
A new Public Art Master Plan sets out to fulfill the missing component.
Thousands visit Chicago just to get a picture with the iconic “bean”. Now, the city is working with the Greater Augusta Arts Council to create a piece that tells the story of Augusta.”