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Critics calmed, mural back on track

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 5:36 PM
Last updated 7:25 PM
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The 15th Street community has calmed critics of the mural it designed for the Rosa T. Beard Memorial Bridge. The project will start in the next two weeks, when artists should begin “putting brush to wall,” officials said Monday.

Lucy and David McTier (center) stand along with Greater Augusta Arts Council members Lisa Taylor (left) and Shelita Johnson with a final mural design for the Rosa T. Beard Memorial Bridge.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
Lucy and David McTier (center) stand along with Greater Augusta Arts Council members Lisa Taylor (left) and Shelita Johnson with a final mural design for the Rosa T. Beard Memorial Bridge.

“All the dissenters have quieted down and everybody is happy now,” said John Paul Stout, the city’s sustainable development manager in charge of the project.

Stout confirmed he has issued Wrens artist Lucy McTier a six-month permit to start painting the $24,000 piece of public art, which was approved for funding through a $1.8 million community challenge grant awarded to Augusta from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

McTier said Monday she hopes to begin the 1,600-square-foot composition in the next two weeks, after she finishes drawing a portrait, compiling a list of paint colors and recruiting an army of artists for the project through the help of the Augusta Arts Council.

“This is going to be fun,” McTier said.

McTier’s husband, David McTier, said in the past month artists from as far away as Savannah have called to volunteer to help with the mural, after seeing reports that the project had been put under a two-week “calming period,” because a Paine College official complained the public art’s approved design failed to capture Beard’s contributions as a former educator in the local community.

“This project has reached far past Augusta, Georgia,” David McTier said.

Stout said the heightened publicity, in part, was caused by a misunderstanding, explaining that the mural was never intended to be a tribute to Beard.

Federal and state guidelines say that the artwork must be an undivisive, community-generated piece of public art that captures a sustainable vision for the area and not a composition dedicated to the work of a historic figure.

Leah Suggs, Paine College spokeswoman, has said that neither the school nor the official who made the complaint – Brandon Brown, senior vice president of institutional advancement – wished to comment any further on the project “at this time.” She did not return phone calls Monday.

Beard died in December 2010 at age 89. An educator for almost 40 years, she taught thousands of young people in Augusta; founded The Rocket Club for students interested in aeronautics and space; and through her debutante club, prepared young ladies for adulthood.

She was active at Antioch Baptist Church and a board member of Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center – a senior center, food pantry and youth-tutoring facility.

The transformation of the 15th Street bridge that bears her name was completed in February after six months of public input meetings at Josey High School and the Augusta Mini Theatre on Deans Bridge Road.

McTier said the mural will go up after all supplies are delivered and the wall is spray washed, has time to dry and is divided into grids for artists to paint. The artwork will be sealed with a protective coating that will make it easy to clean if anyone paints graffiti on it.

Members of the community said they support the art and the positive change it hopes to bring.

“Anything that would liven up the area and improve the image of the bridge would be nice,” said John Turner, whose business, Turner Transportation Specialists, has been the bridge’s next-door neighbor for nearly 20 years. “The mural would brighten the bridge with some color, while promoting the community.”

Comments (11) Add comment
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southern2
7760
Points
southern2 09/24/13 - 08:50 pm
1
0
No comment from Paine College

No comment from Paine College or the official who made the complaint. Makes me wonder what concessions were made during the 2 week calming period. Good luck to the McTier's and welcome to Augusta.

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 09/25/13 - 06:35 am
6
1
$1.8 million in a grant for a painting

When we have homeless veterans? Pathetic....

seenitB4
96953
Points
seenitB4 09/25/13 - 07:02 am
2
1
A sparkling diamond

A diamond sparkles for all to see....some won't get this but I do.....we need beauty in our life.....small price to pay for uplifting & breath taking views....children react to color & it promotes good vibrations in their brain...soo take a deep breath & enjoy the view.

And say thanks for the many volunteers....Thank you.

grinder48
2051
Points
grinder48 09/25/13 - 07:43 am
0
0
Where's the 15th Street Bridge?
Unpublished

Article should be more clear on the location of the bridge ...

Young Fred
20582
Points
Young Fred 09/25/13 - 08:00 am
1
0
seenitB4

You and I rarely disagree, but in this case I'd have to say the painting looks very...adolescent-y. Not to say it's not pretty.

I suppose if it's purpose is to get kids to go oooeew and aaahhh at the pretty, pretty, colors then it will achieve its purpose.

Of course I thought that metallic tower sculpture off of Reynolds street was a bit underwhelming also.

I guess beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder!

seenitB4
96953
Points
seenitB4 09/25/13 - 08:30 am
2
1
Young fred

Thank you for your comment..

I say, wait for the finshed product & then decide....beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder...just like a beautiful woman. :)

my.voice
5159
Points
my.voice 09/25/13 - 09:01 am
1
1
Its not very "Augusta" in my

Its not very "Augusta" in my opinion. Murals have a reputation for being tacky and this one is following that reputation very well.

seenitB4
96953
Points
seenitB4 09/25/13 - 09:37 am
2
1
Now please ignore Rivers comments

He will come on & disagree with what I said....don't listen to him....he only wants to keep beauty in his part of town/enclave....he is very selfish about that! hahahhheheh (payback big boy!)

Little Old Lady
8678
Points
Little Old Lady 09/25/13 - 10:02 am
2
1
Mural

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. This one is tacky. I could think of many ways to beautify that area and pretty colors on a bridge for $24,000 is not one of them.

TrulyWorried
16484
Points
TrulyWorried 09/25/13 - 10:36 am
1
0
15th Street Bridge

Frankly, I could not care less what they paint on that bridge, they'll do it anyhow, no matter what opinions are voiced. What I cannot understand is that the bridge will be named in Mrs. Beard's honor - what happened to the Butts Memorial Bridge? Did they move it somewhere else? I have nothing whatsoever against naming bridges or streets or whatever after deserving people, but is it right to just sweep one person out of history to honor someone else? I am sure there are many more places that could be used to honor Mrs. Beard, and rightfully so. OR - do I have the wrong bridge??? Someone help me on that, please?

Willie Malpass
30
Points
Willie Malpass 09/25/13 - 12:53 pm
2
0
15th Street Bridge

The bridge being referred to is the one near the old Castleberry plant that takes 15th Street from the medical district over the railroad tracks and Wrightsboro Road toward T.W. Josey High School.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 09/25/13 - 02:13 pm
2
0
If the government is designed

If the government is designed to be involved in compensating artists and providing them an income, then that was accomplished.

I've no comment or opinion on aesthetics and dollar amounts.

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