The city of Denison is considering installing temporary public art displays, including sculptures by college art students, to parks throughout the city.
Denison Development Services Director Gabe Reaume said city officials plan to meet with an arts professor from the University of North Texas next week to discuss the possibility and feasibility of hosting student art in its parks in the future.
“I think with public art, it just adds a richness to the experience of visiting our parks,” Reaume said Thursday.
Reaume noted that planning and development for the project is still early on, and he noted that future discussions may prove that the project is not realistic in scope.
Reaume said the idea of hosting the public art displays came out of conversations whth Parks and Recreation Director Chris Mobley on ways to clean up and maintain the city’s parks. As many of the city’s parks have stumps from dead trees, Mobley said he wanted to see if there could be a way to utilize these as art, rather than simply uprooting them.
“We together thought it would be kind of cool if someone could carve that and paint it into some form of public art,” Reaume said.
Reaume said he came up with the idea to utilize UNT art students for the project as he often looks for ways to support his alma mater, and he felt the project could give budding artists some exposure.
Though initial ideas included carvings and paintings on the stumps, after initial consultations with UNT Assistant Studio Arts Professor Alicia Eggert it was determined that the school did not have anyone skilled in carving. Instead, Eggert suggested the possibility of temporarily hosting sculptures from students in the park.
This is not the first time the city of Denison has explored the possibility of public art. Earlier this year, a new sculpture in the shape of a guitar was unveiled outside Heritage Park in honor of the city’s annual Music on Main concert series. However, Reaume noted that most of these efforts were focused on downtown.
Similarly, as a part of ongoing renovations to Martin Luther King Park, the city plans to include a 10 foot by 10 foot mural of the civil rights leader.
Mobley, who recently came to Denison, said he previously had success with public art displays while working for the city of Sugarland. About four years ago, the city installed temporary displays of statues sculpted by local artists. After the initial success, Mobley said the program expanded and grew in recent years.
“It was a tremendously successful program and people really liked it,” Mobley said. “We started small, but people really appreciated it and I think it became something the people really wanted.”
Although the project is initially aimed at college students, if successful, Reaume said he would be open to expanding it to local artists and anyone who wishes to be involved.