art + design
where we met
Where We Met is an undulating, colorful net hung high above LeBauer Park’s Great Lawn from five mammoth pylons positioned around the perimeter. The connecting shape from which the net is draped mirrors an 1896 map of N.C. railroad tracks connecting many of the state’s major textile hubs at the time.
Where We Met is the first permanent sculpture of this style in the region and is the result of a $1-million grant by The Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation, which commissioned The Public Art Endowment at The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro to manage and execute the project. A committee including Nancy Doll, director of the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Laura Way, director of Greenhill, sculptor Jim Gallucci, and Public Art Endowment trustees worked with the Armfield Foundation throughout a six-month artist selection process
Janet Echelman’s billowing netted sculptures were ranked No. 1 on Oprah Winfrey’s “List of 50 Things That Make You Say Wow!” The Boston-based artist combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create her monumental artworks that are experiential in nature, “shifting from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in,” said the artist. She was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.”
Echelman sees public art as “a team sport,” and collaborates with a wide range of professionals to bring her sculptures to life, including aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, computer scientists, and fabricators. Echelman uses highly engineered fibers which are 15 times stronger than steel pound for pound.
“I’m excited to create an artwork which engages the Greensboro community,” said Echelman. “I’m inspired by the rich history of textile production and local craftsmanship that originated here. I envision a contemplative experience that creates a sense of place and draws residents and visitors to spend time in the new park.”
Echelman’s sculpture has provided Greensboro an iconic symbol in much the same way as significant public art does for other cities, such as Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gatein Chicago or Robert Indiana’s LOVE in Philadelphia.
The Artist: Janet Echelman
The Benefactor: The Edward M. Armfield Foundation
Edward M. Armfield, Sr. was a native of Asheboro and lived in Greensboro until his death in 1999. He was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Armtex, Inc., and Surry Industries, Inc. both textile companies based in Surry County. The foundation that bears his name was established in 1999 to make grants in Surry, Randolph and Guilford counties. While education in Surry County is the primary focus of the Armfield Foundation, additional areas of interest include efforts to enhance parks, recreation, and quality of life.
“My husband loved this city and appreciated all of the people who worked with him,” said Adair Armfield, chair of the Armfield Foundation. “It has been our intention all along that this sculpture will honor Ed, his dedicated employees and their families and the textile industry. The type of sculpture that Janet does – and will create for Greensboro – will suggest textiles in a beautiful and abstract manner.”
The Facilitator: The Public Art Endowment
The Public Art Endowment is a permanent fund at The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and is the only fund of its kind in the area. Its mission is to help preserve and expand Greensboro's sense of community by making possible the long-term and permanent placements of significant public artworks throughout the city. Stewardship for The Public Art Endowment is provided by a group of Trustees who are passionate enthusiasts for the arts and for Greensboro. Trustees are involved in all aspects of the endowment, including selection of artworks and development of related programming, as well as advocacy within the greater community for The Public Art Endowment and its mission.
the sensory space
The Peacehaven Community Farm Sensory Space is an interactive sculpture with a variety of elements of interest to all children, with a special focus on children with sensory differences. Located at the center of LeBauer Park, this sculpture was commissioned in 2015 and completed in August 2016.
It is estimated that as many as one in every six children from the general population and up to 80% of children with a disability may be oversensitive (or undersensitive) to stimulation of any of the senses. For someone with significant sensory processing differences, sensory signals received by the brain may be garbled and disorganized and can disrupt everyday life. Sensory spaces can help make these experiences less disruptive. Find out more about sensory processing by downloading this overview created by the project’s sensory consultant, Meg Harris, an occupational therapist practicing in the Greensboro community.
The Artists: Cynthia Frank and Carrie Cault
The Peacehaven Sensory Space was designed by North Carolina artists Cynthia Frank and Carrie Gault with input from a diverse leadership team, a sensory consultant, and children with disabilities and their families. Many of these families participated in an Art Collaboration Day at the Greenhill Center’s ArtQuest space in downtown Greensboro. At this event, children with disabilities and their families worked alongside a variety of artists on creative exercises to express the way each of us takes in information from the world using multiple senses. The results of the day were captured by the commissioned artists and can be found embedded within the Sensory Space sculpture.
"Peacehaven Community Farm is proud to be a voice in the region enabling more inclusive spaces for people with disabilities, and we are thankful for the financial backing we’ve received from The Cemala Foundation, Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, ArtsGreensboro, and many individual donors listed below. Many thanks also to our public art consultant and project manager, Cheryl Stewart, many folks at The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, our diverse Leadership Team, and the many artists and families who contributed to the creation of this unique work of art. If you haven’t already done so, we hope you will visit LeBauer Park and the Peacehaven Sensory Space. If you have kids, make sure to download this activity sheet to help spur more imagination and wonder!"
Here are some news stories that provide more background and context on the Peacehaven Community Farm Sensory Space:
In March 2003, Project for Public Spaces conducted a public educational presentation in Greensboro to introduce concepts associated with successful urban parks. For the remainder of 2003, Downtown Greensboro, Inc. and the Center City Park Committee facilitated 45 community workshops to show park elements and determine which park features and activities citizens preferred. In March 2004, the Center City Park Committee issued a nationwide request for proposals from top park designers. From 29 landscape architecture firms responding, the Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc. of Boston was selected as lead park designer. Architects Touloukian and Touloukian, Inc. of Boston designed the pavillion and pergola structures. Local design firm J. Hyatt Hammond Associates were the Architect of Record and assisted with on-site supervision. Rentenbach Constructors, Inc. served as general contractor. Don Euser Waterarchitecture, Inc. of Ontario collaborated on the fountain design.
ETM Associates, LLC assisted in developing strategies for operating and managing the park, which is a public/private partnership of the City of Greensboro, Action Greensboro, and other private-sector park supporters. The park property is owned by the real estate divisions of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation.
Bob Uhlig (right) and Jonathan Peet of the Halvorson Design Partnership were lead designers of Center City Park. Their love of play is unmistakable throughout the park.
Center City Park was conceived as a series of outdoor rooms that are comfortable and functional for large scale events as well as for small groups and individuals to relax and socialize.
The streetscape along its perimeter extends the park experience to the roadway edges, with a broad sidewalk featuring raised planters integrated with granite benches to encourage activity along the street. Plantings separate park users from the street and distinguish the park from its urban surroundings.
The Great Lawn, adjacent to the main entrance, is oriented to overlook the fountain and slopes down toward Davie Street, forming a natural amphitheatre. This broad lawn supports both daily park use and staging for large events. Paths lead users through a series of contrasting intimate spaces featuring art compositions and quotations integrated with seating to allow opportunities for viewing art elements.
The Oval Lawn and Pavilion create a venue for intimately-scaled activities and daily events. The Pavilion provides protection from the sun and bad weather, as well as housing restrooms, support facilities for vendors and special events, and an enclosure for park and fountain plumbing and mechanical operations. The design and detailing of the pergolas, which are wooden canopy structures with intricately woven details, are inspired by the shuttle and weaving loom, recalling the importance of the textile industry to the early growth of Greensboro
The fountain is an abstract representation of the seasonal stream beds found throughout the Piedmont region of North Carolina. It increases in size and intensity as the water travels along the elevational change of the water stairs and culminates at the base of the Great Lawn.
Each edge and corner of the park responds to the adjacent context. Gateways at the northwest and southwest edges are visually porous so as to give pedestrians an open invitation toenter and experience the park. Both northwest and southwest gateways are identified with pergola shade structures and sculptures to mark the entries. Davie Street visually and physically connects the park with the Greensboro Cultural Center and Festival Park, thereby enhancing the perception of the park as extending across the street.
Design inside the park is composed of a number of artworks and interpretive elements. Larger park features include the Great Lawn, Oval Lawn, Pavilion, fountain and pergolas.
artists in the park
Center City Park incorporates themes and details inherent to Greensboro’s history and culture and is designed to represent our city as an open and welcoming place of diverse people. The support of and use of local artists in the park’s art features is an important part of that statement.
Jim Cooper, who describes himself as a blacksmith and metal artist, created Libation in his studio at the Lyndon Street Artworks in downtown Greensboro. The urn sculpture stands 8 1/2' tall and is comprised of two containers that continuously brim over.
Jim was born in Birmingham, Alabama, where steel is everywhere and where he acquired his interest in metal. A metal artist for 35 years, he has been in museum work for most of his adult life. Jim and his wife moved from Greensboro to Fredericksburg, VA in 2007.
Jim's Bent Grass Fencing (right) defines the edges of the Park's entrances and serves to guide visitors into the Park.
Early Bird bronze bench
Judy McKie is a furniture designer born in Boston. After earning a degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design she began work as a graphic designer. (In fact, several of her cloth wall-hangings were used as tents at Woodstock.)
In the early 1970’s Judy began making furniture and by the end of the decade was gaining national recognition in shows, commissions, and awards. Her interest in the primitive animal motifs of pre-Columbian, African, and Native American art shows in her whimsical sculptural furniture with its colorful carved animal forms. By the early 1990s Judy had begun casting tables and benches in bronze.
“I want to make art that people love.
“The things I enjoy are light in feeling and there is visually something a little naive about them. They tend to be playful and personal and they are somewhat subtle... Those are the kinds of objects that I choose to have around me. So when I make something, I try to imbue the object I'm making with the quality of the things I appreciate.”
-With Addison Parks, Artdeal Magazine, 1994
Judy McKie is shown above in the process of making Early Bird. The finished bench at left seats Priscilla Taylor comfortably.
Judy Kensley McKie
82 Holoworthy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Fred Johnston grew up in the rural South, and his approach to clay is rooted in the Southern folk pottery traditions of North Carolina. His work extends these traditions by mixing motifs and styles from different cultures and time periods and adding an element of playfulness.
Fred is a graduate of Alfred University, the New York State College of Ceramics in Alfred, New York, and he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Penn State University. His studio is one of the over 100 pottery studios and galleries in the Seagrove area, and his work is adding to the 300-year history of one of the largest communities of potters in the nation. Seagrove’s abundant clay deposits were first utilized by Native Americans, with English and German immigrant potters arriving in the late 1700’s, giving the area the longest continual history of pottery making in the United States