This report has been contributed by Matthew Causey, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
Maconite Cailesha Singleton watches her kids as they run around and play by a large metal object shaped like a cartoon speech bubble with the word ‘smile’ written on the front of it.
“The smile, I like it. It brings happiness to the park, to the community, to the neighborhood,” Singleton said. “So as you can see, the kids are loving this.”
This piece is one of several sculptures on display in Tattnall Square Park, but where did they come from and why are they there?
The art is there as part of the Art in the Park project, which is a part of the Coleman Hill Project.
Dr. Craig Coleman, an associate professor and dean of the art department at Mercer University, is in charge of the Art in the Park project.
The project came from a grant to hold several art shows in Tattnall Square Park, but after the second show, the city’s arts and recreation department put a freeze on installing art in the city until they could create a public art ordinance.
“Some of the artists who were in the first show contacted me to say ‘oh is it okay if I pick up my work a little bit later than what we had originally planned,’” Coleman said.
That work ended up sitting in the park for a while. Some of the pieces were taken back by the artists, but others still remained.
But because the city had put a freeze on installing public art before all the planned shows could be held, there was still money left in the project’s grant.
Coleman decided it would be best to purchase the art pieces that were still in the park with the remaining grant money so that the park could have some permanent pieces in it as well.
“So basically all the work that’s there is there because of that,” Coleman said. “It’s just because we didn't mind it being there, and if they wanted to leave it there that was fine.”