Completed earlier this spring by professional artist Madison Beaulieu, the blossoms on the new wildflower mural at North and Lee Streets in downtown Canton instantly became a free gathering spot of connectivity and accessibility to art for everyone – outside the walls of a museum or gallery.
Providing opportunities to encounter art and to engage with it is just one goal of the hard-working Canton Cultural Arts Commission (CCAC). According to Americans for the Arts, public art initiatives such as Canton's wildflower mural and Railroad Street mural encourage visitors to connect with locations more deeply while transforming places such as parks, alleys, and traffic intersections.
The economic value of public art is also front and center for the CCAC.
"Public art can be an essential element when a municipality wishes to progress economically and to be viable to its current and prospective citizens," reports Americans for the Arts. "Data strongly indicates that cities with an active and dynamic cultural scene are more attractive to individuals and businesses."
In keeping with the CCAC's mission to use art to enhance Canton and the lives of its residents and visitors, the Commission is planning other projects including a large-scale mural overlooking historic Sunnyside neighborhood's Harmon Park, which is undergoing a renovation project that includes the addition of a soccer mini-pitch that's funded through a grant from Atlanta United.
But public art is more than murals. CCAC and the City of Canton have also issued a Request for Proposal for a public arts masterplan to carefully evaluate and implement steps forward when it comes to arts placemaking. Sculptures downtown and in local parks as well as future arts programming are on the list of CCAC goals. Also, the group of volunteers is busy planning a signature event for April 2023 that will feature film, culinary, visual, and performing arts in a weekend dedicated to creativity and learning about the cultural arts. Please stayed tuned for CCAC updates about the compelling power of the arts in Canton. In the meantime, go take a selfie at the #CantonGaWildFlowerMural!
CCAC Volunteer Members Appointed by City Council and the Mayor:
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
The staff liaison for the Commission is Canton Theatre Director Kristin Norton Green.