Raleigh’s Latest Public Art Piece tells a story through trash – and you can help build it.

by Brandon Cordrey

Rendering of the completed piece.

Ever get the itch to be involved in a public art project? Well, here’s your chance.  McConnell Studios is inviting the public to participate in their latest work.

The Wilders Grove Project is a large, interactive wall relief piece that will be installed at the entrance to the Wilders Grove Solid Waste Facility on Beacon Lake Drive in Raleigh. It was commissioned by the City of Raleigh’s Arts Commission as a site specific piece, under the City’s Percent for Public Art Program and will be installed permanently. The facility is already open to the public and visited often by tour groups, but the City of Raleigh and McConnell Studios hope that adding this piece of artwork will expand and enhance the visitors experience. Constructed using recyclable materials, this piece is designed to raise awareness about the advantages of properly managing waste and recycled materials.

Completed back panel for the piece.

“The Wilders Grove Solid Waste Services Facility is a great example of what the City of Raleigh seeks to achieve with new public facilities, and having a public art component on site is a key part of setting that example,” said Megan Hinkle, communications specialist for Raleigh Solid Waste Services. “While the facility’s design already demonstrates the city’s commitment to sustainability, excellence, and long-term planning, this new public art piece will be another feature that showcase the city’s core values.”

McConnell Studios is leading construction of the piece, while William Lee Cherry and Mark Russo are working on creating and programming a live feed video installation that makes it into an interactive kaleidoscope.

Be a part of public art!

Volunteers helping create portions of the Wilder's Grove piece.

The piece is a true interactive community art installation, as McConnell studios had the idea to open the making of the piece up to the public as well.  They have had 5 build days so far and the piece is over halfway constructed.

The next build date is scheduled for Saturday, July 27th11am-3pm at Taylor’s Warehouse:  1115 West Lenior Street, in Boylan Heights. Anyone is welcome to attend and work for as long as you would like. This would be a great opportunity for any artist to include their family in the making of art. Each step of the process is explained and thoroughly and as each person works on specific areas, people from the studios will hold conversations about how they will come together for the finished product. The name of every person who contributes to the project will be put on a plaque and displayed with the finished installation.

Crowd working at a recent public build.

“The City of Raleigh is excited to see public art that will celebrate sustainability, recycling and the impact it has on our lives.  Matt McConnell, Lee Cherry and Marc Russo have created artwork that is fitting for the Wilder’s Grove Solid Waste Services Facility, and is a great example of how community can also be involved.  We can’t wait to see the artwork installed!”  say, Kim Curry-Evans, the Public Art Coordinator  for City of Raleigh, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.

To follow the progress of this project, including the dates of future builds, follow it on Facebook.

Brandon Cordrey is a studio artist working mainly in mixed media collage. He also works at CAM Raleigh, Flanders Gallery and Arts Access. Follow him on Twitter @BMCordrey or email.

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