What is Public Art? Why is it Important?

What is Public Art?

Public art takes all shapes and sizes, but what distinguishes it is the unique association of how it is made, where it is located, and what it means. Placed within the public view, public art is open to everyone to enjoy, interpret and learn.

Why is it Important?

Public art plays a significant role in helping create a vibrant and well-rounded community. It can express an area’s values, enhance its environment, instill a heightened sense of place and highlight its cultural heritage.

The Gainesville-Hall County free public art tour provides the opportunity to view a selection of over 30 works of art in a variety of media. Our art has the power to express more than words. It will evoke a sense of community, pride and heritage; be a catalyst for reflection, remembrance and conversation; and be an expression of honor and hope. We invite you to take more than just a tour of our public art, we invite you to explore the history and soul of our community.

1.   The location must be completely accessible to the public (i.e. outside in the open) OR in a public building commissioned by public funds with theintent of being viewed by the general public.
2.  Artistic merit/significance: Work must be of a certain level of quality, created by an important/relevant artist, or representative of a significant artistic movement.
3.  A piece may be deemed appropriate to categorize as public art if there is an important regional or historical significance.

The Vision 2030 Public Art Committee
is committed to enhancing the quality of life for our community. Our initiatives depend upon grants, private donations, community support and corporate donations to conserve, preserve and make available public art to citizens and visitors in Hall County. The Public Art Committee is a proud partner of the North Georgia Community Foundation (NGCF) for the management of our charitable fund. To learn more about donating to the Vision 2030 Public Art Fund at NGCF, call 770-535-7880. For questions about public art in Gainesville-Hall County, call Vision 2030 at 770-532-6206.


Violin, Andrew Crawford
Forged and fabricated steel, 2001
Brenau University, 429 Academy St.

Atlanta-based artist Andrew Crawford was commissioned by President Emeritus John S. Burd to sculpt Violin in 2001, in preparation for the dedication of the Burd Center of Performing Arts the following year. The sculpture stands 9-feet-tall and weighs one ton. Violin won Crawford an award for outstanding craftsmanship in an international competition.


Harriet Tubman and Child, Jane DeDecker
Bronze, edition of 7, 1995
Thurmond McRae Lecture Hall
Brenau University, 625 Academy St.

Artist Jane DeDecker gifted a limited edition life-size bronze sculpture to Brenau University in 1997. The work depicts Harriet Tubman and a young boy embarking on a walk together, and features a quote by Ms. Tubman etched into the base. At the time of its installation, it was one of the first examples of Ms. Tubman being honored in a highly visible fashion in Georgia.


Golden Tiger, Gregory Johnson
Bronze, 2012
Brenau University, 340 Green St.

At 7 feet 6 inches tall, this 2,200 pound work is the largest Golden Tiger Sculpture in the world. It greets the community as they travel down historic Green Street. Cast by Eagle Bronze of Wyoming. The tiger is named “Lucile” after an influential Brenau alumna, Lucile Townsend Pearce. “Lucile” was dedicated during a ceremony on October 4, 2013 on the eve of Brenau University’s 135th year anniversary.


Contemporary Student, Gregory Johnson
Bronze, 2009
Brenau University, 206 Boulevard

One of the most prevalent artists featured in public art projects in this community is Gregory Johnson, a Cumming, Georgia native. He is fluent in two and three dimensional media. Johnson’s works are featured in many museums and universities across the country.


1920’s Student, Gregory Johnson
Bronze, 2008
Brenau University, Intersection of Washington Street / Boulevard

Johnson’s sculpture, 1920’s Student, is a prime example of his ability to create timeless art that realistically depicts the decades, especially when compared to his sculpture Contemporary Student which was sculpted just a year later and depicts a modern-day scholar.


Pure Americana, Andrew Crawford
Steel, 2005
Brenau University, 200 Boulevard

Pure Americana is a work by artist Andrew Crawford. Brenau University hosted four large Crawford sculptures on campus from 2011-2012, ten years after the artist’s Violin sculpture was installed at the John S. Burd Center for Performing Arts. At the end of the exhibition term, Brenau University purchased Pure Americana. The piece is installed near the Simmons Visual Arts Center.


Poultry Monument, Artist unknown
Bronze & Georgia marble, installed 1978
Poultry Park, intersection of Jesse Jewell Parkway & West Academy Street

Gainesville, Georgia is often nicknamed “The Poultry Capital of the World” because the poultry industry is the County’s main agribusiness. This monument of a bronze rooster mounted atop a spire of Georgia marble pays local tribute to the City’s nickname and its agricultural history.


Miss Scarlet, Eric Strauss
Metal, 2004
Quinlan Visual Arts Center
514 Green St. NE

In celebration of the Quinlan’s building expansion in 2004, this work, Miss Scarlett, was installed in front of the new wing, just off Green Street. The artist, an Elijay native, is a nationally acclaimed metal sculptor.


Homage, R.G. Brown
Limestone & steel, 1978
Quinlan Visual Arts Center
514 Green St. NE

Homage is an early work of R.G. Brown, Professor Emeritus of Art at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.


Lithely Verdant / Gravity Fritz, Stephen Kline
Painted aluminum, 1990
Quinlan Visual Arts Center
514 Green St. NE

This contemporary abstract piece by southern artist, Stephen Kline, adds a playful and striking element to downtown Gainesville’s art scene.


Untitled, Artist unknown
Hall County Courthouse Annex
116 Spring St.

This bell originally hung at Hall County’s 1883 courthouse. During the Tornado of 1936, the courthouse was destroyed, but the bell survived, despite being blown and landing nearly 300 yards away.


Old Joe, American Bronze Company
Bronze and Georgia marble, Dedicated 1909
Downtown Square

One of the few landmarks to survive the Gainesville tornado of 1936, this piece was donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and is affectionately nicknamed “Old Joe” by locals. The figure faces north, ready to defend against Yankee invaders. The rifle, however, dates to eight years after the Civil War indicating that he may actually have been created from a mold of a Spanish-American War soldier.


George Washington, John A. Lanzalotti
SunTrust Bank
121 E.E. Butler Parkway

This bust and memorial to George Washington was put in place by the Hall County Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution to recognize the first President and educate the public about the namesake of Washington Street, the road to which the monument faces.


Untitled, Artist Unknown
Spring Street, Archway to Kenyon Plaza

This rare marker commemorates Georgians who served in the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection. It was erected by the Georgia Department of the National Auxiliary United Spanish War Veterans.


Roosevelt Memorial, R.J.S.
Marble and bronze, 1938
Roosevelt Square
Hall County Courthouse Annex

Roosevelt Memorial was erected to mark the occasion of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s return to Gainesville two years after the 1936 Tornado. After giving his speech on March 23, 1938, this marker was unveiled commemorating the event and the naming of the new square for Roosevelt.


1938 Courthouse Relief, Artist Unknown
Hall County Courthouse Annex, Rear
Facade facing Roosevelt Square

The courthouse was completed in 1938 to replace the one destroyed by the 1936 tornado. It incorporated common artistic elements of neoclassical New Deal era architecture as seen here on the exterior.


Morgan’s Raiders, Daniel Boza
Oil, WPA Mural, 1936
Inside the Federal Building and US Courthouse
126 Washington St.

In 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created to provide economic relief during the Great Depression – – creating 5,000 artist jobs and producing over 225,000 works of art. Morgan’s Raid (1863) was a 1,000-mile incursion into the Northern states by Confederate cavalry led by General John Hunt Morgan. It was the farthest north any uniformed Confederate troops penetrated.


The Circle of Freedom, Gary Lee Price
Bronze, 2007
Northeast Georgia History Center
322 Academy St., NE

The Circle of Freedom by Gary Price is the centerpiece of the American Freedom Garden at the Northeast Georgia History Center, which pays tribute to those who have served in America’s military to preserve freedom. The sculpture is of five children with an empty space so that visitors may clasp hands and complete The Circle of Freedom.


Mountain Man, Frederic Remington
The Arts Council, 331 Spring St.

The work depicts a dramatic episode in the life of a French Canadian trapper and his horse as they work together to descend down a treacherous rocky slope. Relatively few casts of Mountain Man were produced during Remington’s lifetime.


Helmut, Deborah Masters
The Arts Council
331 Spring St.

Masters, both a renowned sculptor and an environmentalist, has shown widely in the United States, Canada, and Europe.


The Bear, Artist Unknown
The Arts Council
331 Spring St.

The Bear represents western direction. He is associated with the color blue and known for his curative powers, according to Native American folklore. Characteristics associated with bears include strength, courage, adaptability, healing and spiritual communion. The bear is frequently mentioned as “first helper” in creation and emergence stories.


Untitled, Ferdinand Rosa
Styrofoam and fiberglass on a concrete pad, 1988 The Arts Council
331 Spring St

This non-objective geometric and abstract creation by local artist Ferdinand Rosa plays with volume, line, color and texture. The negative space around the sculpture helps give definition to its boundaries.


Elpida, Jean Westmacott
Bronze, 2010
Anne’s Garden
Northeast Georgia Medial Center
743 Spring St.

Elpida is the Greek word for hope, making the location of this work of art vital for patients who are seeking hope for healing at Gainesville’s award-winning hospital.


Untitled, Mary Hart Wilheit
Copper, 2011
Wilheit-Keys Peace Garden
Northeast Georgia Medical Center
743 Spring St.

Local sculptor, Mary Hart Wilheit is known for her unique metal artistry and giving back to her community. This series of sculptures seamlessly weave art with nature within the contemplative garden space at the hospital.


Untitled, Kent Ambler
Wood and glass, 2009
North Patient Tower, chapel
Northeast Georgia Medical Center
743 Spring St.
The window art featured high within the Dawn McKibbon Memorial Chapel enhances the atmosphere of a quiet place of prayer and meditation for patients, families and visitors at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.


Lake Reflections, Mimi Shaw
Oil on linen, 2009
North Patient Tower, 6th floor
Northeast Georgia Medical Center
743 Spring St.

Lake Reflections is one of many selections displayed in the Nathan-Schrage Art Gallery located inside Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s North Patient Tower (NPT). This gallery was commissioned to enhance the beauty of the NPT for patients and guests through calming and healing artwork featuring the beauty of nature indicative of the North Georgia area.


Untitled, Debra Nadelhoffer
Oil on panel, 2009
North Patient Tower, 4th floor
Northeast Georgia Medical Center
743 Spring St.

Debra Nadelhoffer’s work features atmospheric landscapes and usually evokes a memory for the viewer. She paints plein air and in the studio to create artwork reflective of the landscape she sees and which is easily recognizable through her painterly approach and palette.


Living Walls Mural, Franco “Jaz” Fasoli
Acrylic, 2013
3105 Clarks Bridge Rd.
Gainesville, Georgia 30506

The mural was painted by Brazilian “urban” artist, Franco “Jaz” Fasoli, on the timing tower used for the rowing events during the 1996 Summer Olympics. This public art piece is the result of a community-wide partnership between “Living Walls,” Georgia Council for the Arts, the Arts Council, and Lake Lanier Olympic Venue.


The Rabbittown Monument, Dennis S. Wally
Stone, 1993
2415 Old Cornelia Hwy.
Gainesville, Georgia 30501

Just as Gainesville recognized its “Poultry Capital of the World” nickname, the neighboring community of Rabbittown erected a 20-foot tall rabbit statue to promote its namesake and to honor its rabbit-farming history.


Untitled, Artist Unknown
Various bronzes
Memorial Park Cemetary 2030 Memorial Park Rd.
Gainesville, Georgia 30504

A surprising assortment of more than 48 bronze animals confront visitors in the heart of the beautiful Memorial Park grounds in a spot in the cemetery known as Noah’s Ark.

Author: millie

Front Desk Manager

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