Lander University senior art major Anne McKinney, left; assistant professor of art Jon Holloway; assistant professor of art Doug McAbee and senior art major Amy Walde pose with "E.H.H." Walde said she named the sculpture after her recently deceased grandfather.
A vacant lot in downtown Greenwood has taken on a new look, with the addition of two painted steel sculptures created by a pair of Lander University students.
The lot, at the intersection of Maxwell Avenue and Edgefield Street, between E.S. Moon's Martial Arts and Kickers Takeout, is now home to "E.H.H," the work of senior art major Amy Walde, and "The Canary," by senior art major Anne McKinney.
Walde and McKinney, of Greenwood, designed and produced the works in assistant professor of art Doug McAbee's advanced sculpture class. McAbee said that Walde, who will graduate in May, and McKinney, who will graduate later this month, "succeeded in everything I wanted them to do."
The students began by researching modern public sculptures from the 1950s to the present. After refining their initial concepts, they drew the shapes of the pieces they needed onto the construction material -- a 1/8"-thick sheet of steel. They used a plasma torch to cut out the shapes, grinders to smooth the edges and a welder to join the pieces together. They added anchors to the works and painted them, then dug the holes and poured the concrete for slabs, so the works could be displayed.
McAbee said, "This project gives students a taste of what it's like to be a sculptor in the world that exists after graduation." Walde and McKinney, he said, "had to design their sculptures, pitch the proposal to the lot owner, create the work, create a safe anchoring system, transport and install the work, then speak articulately about their work to bystanders and reporters. This is as much of a real experience as you can get."
The "lot owner," in this case, is Lander assistant professor of art Jon Holloway. McAbee said, "Jon and I had talked about the possibility of getting some public art in town, and we had discussed some options for making this happen. When Jon suggested that we use the sculptures to spruce up the corner lot, I jumped on the idea."
McAbee hopes that Greenwood's new "art corner" will be well-received. "If all goes well, I'd like for this to be a continuing cooperation between the downtown area and our visual arts students," he said.
Associate professor of art Dr. Linda Neely, who chairs Lander's visual arts department, called Lander "fortunate to have faculty with this kind of attitude." She praised McAbee and Holloway for their efforts to "connect artists to the community."