Cultural Arts Commission Reveals Creative Vision
The Canton Cultural Arts Commission is painting the town with an array of public art to celebrate all the city has to offer in nature, culture, and history. The Cultural Arts Commission’s Public Art Master Plan celebrates the history and community of Canton through the use of art. Canton Theatre Events and Facilities Director Kristin Norton Green explains that the commission creates places and opportunities for community interaction and engagement throughout the city. “In 2023 our most exciting project will be the adoption of our Public Art Master Plan,” Kristin shares. “This is an exciting time for Canton because we have the opportunity to build this public art program in the way that best reflects the unique character of our city.”
The Cultural Arts Commission is working with Amanda Golden of Designing Local to create the public art program. The plan will also give recommendations for public art projects using data sourced through numerous interviews and public input sessions.
“Art has the power not only to beautify, but also to unite and tell a story. Each project that the Cultural Arts Commission undertakes has the goal of sharing who we are and what makes Canton such a special place,” Kristin says.
Canton Mayor Bill Grant applauds the efforts of the Cultural Arts Commission. “Cultural and public art helps humanize our community and enrich Canton’s narrative between the past, present, and future. Freely accessible to all, a unique, yet strategic, approach to public art will help create a destination and add meaning to our city,” Mayor Grant offers. “I applaud our Cultural Arts Commission for its efforts on this important initiative, as our Canton Public Art Master Plan will work within our roadmap to activate our many communities to enjoy public art while also celebrating Canton’s spirit and artistic expressions.”
Members of the commission are selecting a finalist for the mural that will be installed on the new downtown parking deck next to City Hall. Kristin explains that the parking deck mural is especially exciting because it is a capital project designed with the addition of public art in mind. The mural project is scheduled to be completed this summer.
Kristin adds more: “We are working on an exciting mural project on the basketball court at Boling Park.” The Boling Park mural is a collaboration between Cherokee High School student Emily Hamilton, local artist and Cultural Arts Commission member Rob Walker-Bunda, and Atlanta-based nonprofit Art in the Paint. Emily worked with Rob to refine the idea and scale it to size for the basketball court. Art in the Paint, founded by former professional basketball player Arelious Cooper, is executing the design. Arelious and his organization work across Atlanta to improve basketball courts in underserved communities and have recently been featured in Southern Living, Essence, and VoyageATL.
Art in the Paint’s mission is “to renovate public outdoor basketball courts and install murals to strengthen communities, promote safety, inspire creativity, and encourage play.” Learn more about Art in the Paint at PlanPaintPlay.com.
Another neighborhood can expect to see art in its future. The arts commission plans a mural in the Sunnyside community that will coincide with the expansion and redevelopment of Harmon Park.
Sunnyside is one of Canton’s most diverse and historic neighborhoods and is on the road to a new era of success as city leaders have joined forces with community members to bring the area a renewed sense of place and purpose.
Harmon Park, one of Canton’s oldest city parks, is set to receive a $1.2 million update that will include a mini-pitch soccer field* as part of the city’s commitment to better serve the diverse community.
In addition to Rob, other members of the arts commission include Amy Kesler, Elaine Federico, Jamie Foreman, Theresa Shampine, and Bryan White.
Previous projects for the Canton Cultural Arts Commission include the Legs Through Time mural along Railroad Street, completed in 2020. It tells the story of the history of Canton, from prehistoric times all the way to modern day, on a three-foot-high wall. Shanna Coulter, a local art teacher, created the concept and worked with other Cherokee County teachers to complete the project.
The commission has also completed the popular Canton Wildflower mural on North Street in the alley between Masterpiece Framer and Stout’s Growlers designed and painted by local artist Madison Beaulieu. It depicts wildflowers native to Georgia and is a great place to stop for a photograph or a selfie, Kristin explains.
*Mini-pitch soccer fields are surrounded by a rebound board system. In mini-pitch games the ball remains constantly in play, creating more ball contact, decisions, and goals and a faster, more intensive experience than games played on a regular pitch field.
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Canton writer Rebecca Johnston is a Cherokee County native and graduate of Cherokee High School and the University of Georgia. Rebecca has won several Georgia Press Association awards for her writing, including the 2007 First Place Award for Serious Columnist. She currently writes for Enjoy Cherokee Magazine.