The newly appointed Canton Cultural Arts Commission (CCAC) plans to use public art in parks, at events, and through other community art initiatives to "art-ify" the city at large. "Art-ify" is a fun and creative term meaning to make more beautiful and meaningful through art.
"Art can and should enhance Canton and the lives of its residents and visitors," says CCAC member Rob Walker-Bunda. This group of engaged volunteers plans to work on projects that will do just that.
One of the first projects the team has its eyes on coincides with the Atlanta United mini-pitch being built at Harmon Park in Canton's Sunnyside neighborhood. Along with the soccer field and other park upgrades under construction, the CCAC hopes to work with City of Canton staff on a public art installation. Public art at this location will not only build pride in Sunnyside but also highlight Harmon Park as the special community and cultural asset that it is.
Stephanie Aylworth, downtown development manager for the Georgia Cities Foundation, says placemaking projects like the one at Harmon Park are an economic catalyst. Aylworth manages the Georgia Placemaking Collaborative, a program to help Canton and other selected cities develop local partnerships to address economic and quality of life issues. Community participation in the creation of these spaces is essential, she says, if public art is to be a true reflection of the city.*
CCAC volunteers are also working on a vision and mission statement as well as working with City staff to create a list of short- and long-term art goals around Canton.
"Art creates a more vibrant community – one that helps remind us that we are all creative beings," says CCAC member Jamie Foreman. "Whether we are painting a landscape, telling a story, or simply appreciating the artistic experience, we are all connected. Art is a partner of progress."
CCAC members, appointed by City Council and the mayor, are:
- Jamie Foreman, gallery owner, Menagerie on Main
- Elaine Frederico, counselor,
- Riverstone Counseling Center
- Amy Kesler, pharmacist
- Theresa Shampine, director,
- The Theodora Dance Conservatory
- Rob Walker-Bunda, cofounder,
- Bunker Design
- Bryan White, owner, Bryan White Photography & Art
- Haley Whyte, art teacher,
- Knox Elementary STEM Academy
- Staff liaison: Kristin Norton, director of Canton Theatre
"When our arts and humanities sectors thrive, we see prosperity and revitalization in communities across our state."
– Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
* Source: Georgia Municipal Association