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Greenway artwork will add culture, education
Grant funds project
Big Creek Greenway 23 es
Interactive signs could appear within a year on the Big Creek Greenway. - photo by File photo
Mile markers and boardwalk signs can be helpful along the Big Creek Greenway, but artistic and educational displays will brighten the multi-use path.

The Forsyth County Arts Alliance recently awarded the county a $10,000 grant that will go toward interactive works of art along the greenway.

The mixed-media installations, which could appear in about a year, would be similar to educational displays inside the Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor Center.

Matthew Pate, outdoor division manager for the county parks and recreation department, went over the plan with county commissioners last week.

“Some places would just consider this as interpretive panels, but we look at this as artwork,” Pate said.

Along the path, informational and artistic works likely will describe the history of the area, surrounding environment and watershed.

“We feel like this artwork can have a dual purpose,” Pate said. “It can be culturally exciting and add value to the greenway itself, as well as education.”

The popularity of the greenway factored in the grant decision. Brett Berto, president of the arts alliance, said the project was selected due in part to the number of people who will have the opportunity to view the work.

The proposal fit the alliance’s goal of “generating interest in cultural arts in the county,” he said.

The group recently awarded $50,000 in grant money to 11 organizations across the county. The Big Creek Greenway project received one of the largest amounts of money.

“It’s a very creative project,” Berto said. “It will impact a significant number of people in the county.”

According to the proposal, a committee will solicit local artists to design and create the pieces for the 6.8-mile path.

County staff and volunteers will organize, set up and maintain the project to fulfill a requirement outlined in the grant application.

The work is estimated to be complete in June 2011, county spokeswoman Jodi Gardner said.

Parks and recreation staff are expected to begin the project this week by assembling a committee for the proposal process, she said.

The greenway’s existing signs will not be affected by the additional work, she said, and the number of new displays added will depend on cost.