published Monday, March 11th, 2013

Public art projects sprouting up in Dade County

The Trenton Arts Council sponsors this Art Scape Project wood sculpture work by Jerry Wallace on U.S. Highway 11, less than one  mile north of the town square in Dade County. The work is entitled "Temporal Transect #2."
The Trenton Arts Council sponsors this Art Scape Project wood sculpture work by Jerry Wallace on U.S. Highway 11, less than one mile north of the town square in Dade County. The work is entitled "Temporal Transect #2."
Photo by Tim Barber.

Drivers have done double takes since December just north of Trenton, Ga., when they see Jerry Wallace's first public artwork.

A boulder dangles above an upright stone. It's suspended from slender tree trunks anchored on a pyramid base built of branches.

What does it mean?

"What did it mean to you?" Wallace asked Friday. "Art should be about how you react to it."

The upright stone is a "menhir," or prehistoric monolith. It's decorated with everything from a handprint to modern-day "found objects."

Wallace has titled the piece Temporal Transect #2, and in a statement he explained, "The history of this planet, and that of some of its former inhabitants, may be read in its geologic strata, and in the fossil record."

The sculpture posits a time, Wallace wrote, when the artifacts and leavings of our era "will appear as strange and mysterious to the inhabitants of some far-flung era as the remains of the creatures bound up in the rocks under our feet do to us today."

Wallace said Friday, "A transect is ... a line that cuts through time, from one time to another one."

The sculpture is the third installed in Dade County, Ga., by the Trenton Arts Council under its Artscape project.

"It's an intriguing piece," arts council Chairman Bob Dombrowski said.

Next up for the shoestring operation will be "Running Man," a sculpture made of plate steel that will stand near downtown in front of housing for students from the Southeast Lineman Training Center.

Dombrowski, an artist who moved from the heart of lower Manhattan about nine years ago to DeKalb County, Ala., says rural residents appreciate what the Trenton Arts Council is doing.

Its first event was a panel discussion in the spring of 2006 titled "What is Public Art?"

"The event was standing-room only," Dombrowski said.

As for the public art the organization has displayed around Trenton, there's been "no negative reactions at all."

"You can feel the positive support for Jerry's piece and everything the arts council is doing," he said.

The only exception may have been when someone hung a pair of shoes on a sculpture that Dombrowski made.

"That might have even been a positive reaction," he said. "I'm not sure what that was."

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township┬╣s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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