The City of Raleigh’s Public Art and Design Board has approved Chris Fennell, an artist from Birmingham, Ala., to create site-specific public art for the Halifax Park Community Center. Mr. Fennell was selected out of a pool of over 60 artists representing 13 different states in the mid-Atlantic and the southeast.
The Public Art and Design Board’s artist selection panel — comprised of a board member, a community member, an arts and design professional and a City staff representative — recommended Mr. Fennell based upon his experience creating aesthetically pleasing site-specific sculptures and his emphasis on community involvement and neighborhood history.
“Chris Fennell invokes passion, whimsy and a profound connection to the places he creates,” said M. Carter Worthy, artist selection panel chair and member of the Public Art and Design Board. “The selection panel loved his unique approach to turning everyday materials into compelling artwork.”
Mr. Fennell uses locally salvaged materials to build large interactive site‐specific installations in forms that reflect local history. He walks the site and researches its history through discussion with community members before choosing a form. The materials used have typically been cast out by society; for example, demolished barns, broken bicycles and downed trees.
Mr. Fennell received a master’s degree in sculpture from the University of Georgia in 2002. He received bachelor’s degrees in sculpture and mechanical engineering from the University of South Florida. He has produced public art sculptures in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Woodstock, Vt. Also, one of his artworks is a 68-foot-long outdoor sculpture on the bank of Lewiston, Idaho’s, Snake River commemorating Lewis and Clark. The sculpture is comprised of aluminum canoes.
“Sixty aluminum (60) canoes into a wave, 160 bicycles into a tornado, 200 baseball bats into a baseball – I can’t wait to be inspired by the Halifax Park community, to see what the next dynamic sculpture will be,” Mr. Fennell said.
Designed by Clark-Nexsen of Raleigh and located within a four-acre park, the renovated and expanded Halifax Park Community Center at 1015 Halifax St. will include a gymnasium, reception lobby, dividable meeting/classroom, weight room, warming kitchen and support spaces. Funding of $3 million for the community center is provided by an $88.6 million parks and recreation bond issue approved by Raleigh voters in 2007.
Public art at selected City of Raleigh sites is authorized by the Half Percent for Art Ordinance adopted by the City Council in 2009 and implemented by the City’s Public Art and Design Board and the City of Raleigh Arts Commission. The Halifax Park Community Center has been selected for public art based on its neighborhood impact and urban accessibility.
Established in 1977 as the official advisory body and advocate for the arts to the Raleigh City Council, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission holds the distinction of being the first municipal arts commission created in North Carolina. Serving as the leading force to champion the arts with Raleigh citizens and their representatives, the Arts Commission’s myriad activities foster, support and promote the arts in the Capital City.
For more information, contact Kim.email@example.com or the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, 996-3610; or visit the City’s website at www.raleighnc.gov/arts
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