New library sculpture by Al Garnto

Blairsville celebrates unveiling of Al Garnto's library sculpture
By Janice Boling

Sculpture dedication on library grounds

The Friends of the Union County Library recently hosted a ceremony to dedicate the new sculpture installed on library grounds. Library patrons, staff, Chamber of Commerce ambassadors, dignitaries, local business owners, and community representatives gathered to celebrate the unveiling, to meet the artist, and to show support for all things related to literacy.

Library receives bequest from Deloris Michael

Plans for a new sculpture to be installed at the Union County Library began back in 2012 when the Friends of the Union County Library received a bequest from the estate of local resident Deloris Michael. The greater part of the funds was used to purchase new items including books and much needed supplies. But one question remained. What do we do with the balance?

Idea for outdoor art feature

Friends president Sally Woodworth and Branch Librarian Susie Brendle, thinking along the same lines, starting talking, and came up with the idea for an outdoor art feature. One thing led to another. With two of Al Garnto's Nottely River Series paintings already hanging in the library, it was decided to contact Mr. Garnto about creating something for the library grounds. Did Al have any ideas? You better believe it!

Blairsville artist Al Garnto to the rescue

Al Garnto was the perfect person to help. After several meetings, Al, Sally, Susie, and Friends of the Library board members decided that an outdoor kinetic sculpture would fit perfectly.

Garnto says, "When I was asked to design this sculpture for the Union County Library and saw the location they had in mind, I knew this one had to be for the kids. I have wanted to combine my outdoor kinetic sculptures with my folk art stuff for a couple of years now and this was the perfect opportunity. I hope the children and their parents will enjoy it. Again, I am honored to have one of my kinetic sculptures located in Downtown Blairsville. Thank you very much to the Union County Library for this opportunity. I feel blessed!"

Destined to become a landmark

The new kinetic sculpture, located outside the Library Youth Room window, can be viewed by children and parents from inside or out. It makes quite a statement when viewed from the library's entrance.

In vivid greens, yellows, and reds, topped with a black book, quill pen, and inkwell weathervane, whimsical hand-painted dots cover most of the sculpture.

Thousands of dots ***

Garnto uses thousands of dots -- they really make this work stand out from his other large scale sculptures. (Al’s sculptures can be seen in Meeks Park, at the Union County Community Center, in several other towns playing host to Garnto’s Appalachian Sculpture Project, and at the homes of serious art collectors.)

Garnto admits that painting all the dots is time consuming and at times almost painful with cramping muscles and tired feet (he stands on a ladder to reach the top). He also explains that repetitive work is relaxing, bringing on a meditative state of being. That’s what creating art is all about.

When the wind blows, Garnto’s giant whirly-gig grabs the attention of all library patrons and passersby. Al’s newest sculpture uses motion, the sound of the wind, and vivid color to stimulate the senses – hopefully giving joy to all that experience it.

Installing new sculpture is a community endeavor

Once the ribbon cutting was announced, Al and the community worked quickly to get things ready in time. The county along with detainees poured the concrete slab base. The Blairsville Garden Club did the landscaping with guidance from Kathryn Litton. The rock work, terraces, and colorful flowers (including fall mums) complimented Garnto's color scheme beautifully. Various businesses and people in Blairsville donated to the project making it a real community endeavor.

People can see Al Garnto's new kinetic sculpture at Union County Pubic Library, 303 Hunt Martin Street, Blairsville, Georgia, 30512. Please visit for more information about the library and for more information about the artist.



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