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
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
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 www.mountainregionallibrary.org for more
information about the library and www.algarnto.com for more information
about the artist.
Blue Ridge, Union County,