An effort to drive an artistic pathway through Clinton is afoot with the collecting of household plastic lids, giving the public an opportunity to be part of an endeavor to create three colorful murals from what would otherwise be trash or, too often, litter.
Just the latest in public art offerings in and around downtown Clinton, the commissioned art will consist of three separate murals depicting Sampson County scenes, to be placed on the Ferrell Street side of the former Caison Building. The lids will be used by artist Denise Hughes, who will receive assistance from students at Sunset Avenue School and Roseboro Elementary in crafting the pieces.
Hughes will be an artist-in-residence at the schools from Oct. 9-13 thanks to a partnership between the Sampson Arts Council, Simple Gifts Fund and the Clinton Main Street Program. Funds contributed by Simple Gifts, as well as those raised by the Main Street Program’s Design Committee during its first-ever “Mystery Masterpiece” in January, will be used to fund the project.
The effort will culminate On Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Court Square Street Fair in downtown Clinton, where all attendees will have the chance to put their own finishing touches on a truly community-oriented project.
The public art will be ultimately be placed along Clinton’s Downtown Recycle Art Walk (DRAW), which extends down Ferrell Street. DRAW is a partnership between the Main Street Program’s Design Committee, Sampson Arts Council and the City of Clinton’s Public Works Department. That bond, forged last year, has at its core the goals of encouraging recycling and creating another colorful part of Clinton.
The plastic lid murals are the next step in that continuing journey.
A Charlotte native, Hughes has created murals throughout homes and businesses in the Triangle, including Marbles Kids Museum, historic churches, pediatric offices and numerous WakeMed hospital facilities. Her newest venture has been creating large pieces of art made up of plastic bottle caps and other discarded plastic “to create animals that, ironically, consume the very plastic which brings them alive on the canvas,” she stated.
Margaret Turlington, coordinator of Simple Gifts, said it is “wonderful” for the program to be able to partner with the Arts Council and the Main Street Program to incorporate art in two local elementary schools while driving home the importance of recycling.
“For school students to see firsthand a new way to look at plastic caps and art is a new way to imagine the world,” she said.
Kara Donatelli, executive director of the Sampson Arts Council, agreed.
“This public art project will represent a sense of community pride and bring people together,” Donatelli attested. “With the artist residency in the schools and people participating at the street fair, it will involve all ages working together to produce a beautiful piece of art as well as reinforce the importance of recycling and protecting our environment.”
Eli Bradley, a Clinton senior in high school and Eagle Scout in Troop 80, is now collecting the lids to get everything going. Those interested can drop off clean plastic lids by Oct. 1 to participating downtown businesses, including Annadale’s, Rebecca’s, Royal Gifts and Fine China, Sessoms Jewelry and Simply NC.
“This project raises awareness for recycling and conservation, which is very important,” said Bradley, further noting that it incorporates an underutilized building. “It will definitely provide beauty and interest in downtown Clinton, while also serving as a reminder of the value of recycling.”
And DRAW is only going to grow, with Midway High School senior Kara Holland set to spearhead “The Kitchen Cabinet” as a free food pantry that will offer canned foods and water to any community member who may be in need.
Mary Rose, Clinton-Sampson Planning director and manager of the Clinton Main Street Program, said Holland will be working with artists from Midway High to paint the cabinet being used. Once in place, residents will be invited to donate to “The Kitchen Cabinet” directly or by leaving items at Tim’s Gift in Clinton, which will be a contributor to the pantry.
“I hope ‘The Kitchen Cabinet’ becomes an anonymous way to make sure no one goes without,” Holland said.
Rachel Lane, who serves on the Main Street’s Design Committee, urged community support in upcoming projects “to make DRAW a space that everyone can be proud of.”
“DRAW is a beautification project that is doing far more than encouraging Sampson County to recycle,” Lane stated. “The project is transforming a blank, underutilized building into an art destination for everyone by bringing the community together. These partnerships are continuing Clinton’s commitment to being rich in tradition and beauty.”
For more information about the plastic lid collection initiative, DRAW or The Kitchen Cabinet, contact Rachel Lane at 910-299-4904.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.