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Winston-Salem to get first art-themed public park

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Designer’s renderings show ARTivity, an art-themed public park covering a little more than a half-acre between Sixth and Seventh Streets on N. Liberty Street. The park will be created by Art for Art’s Sake, a non-profit organization, with a grant from the Thomas J. Regan Jr. Foundation. (Submitted image via the Winston-Salem Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The City of Arts and Innovation will soon have its first art park, appropriately situated between the Downtown Arts District and Wake Forest University’s Innovation Quarter, Derwin Montgomery announced Thursday at the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership’s annual luncheon, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Montgomery represents the East Ward on the Winston-Salem City Council.

Art for Art’s Sake (AFAS), a nonprofit group, is spearheading the creation of an art-themed public park, ARTivity on the Green. It will cost about $2 million, according to Harry Knabb, AFAS chairman and chief executive.

Ground will be broken Dec. 1, with completion expected by May 2015, Knabb said.

Knabb said that the park will be paid for through a grant from the Thomas J. Regan Jr. Foundation to AFAS, with Wells Fargo Bank acting as fiduciary.

AFAS is probably best known for its Red Dog Gallery, 606 N. Trade St., and its Arts on Sunday Festival series held in May and October.

The area of the park is between Sixth and Seventh streets on North Liberty Street in a former parking lot that had been held in trust by Wells Fargo.

“It doubles the size of the arts district,” Knabb said. “It will encourage development on Liberty Street, make it friendlier and inspire more people to invest.”

The location and design of the park are intended to create a vibrant and entertaining link between Innovation Quarter and the downtown Arts District, and will incorporate a variety of features.

Red lines will be potentially set into the sidewalks around the green space to lead visitors into the park. The red lines will meander to create raised setting elements and raised entry portals for art displays. Located at the center of the park, the red lines will converge to thrust upward 50 feet, and create 13 masts that will periodically emit vapor to create illuminated fog formations — a visual nod to the city’s industrial past.

Other features planned for the park are an “artist performance shelter,” sculpted from silvery steel bands, and a concrete mural wall designed to serve as a constantly evolving canvas for local artists.

AFAS was created in 2007 to “build, educate and celebrate community through art.” It initiates and supports a variety of special events and programs — all free to the public — that are designed to encourage the creation and enjoyment of art at the local level.

AFAS will oversee the installation of the park by a group of all-local sources, including design firm STITCH Design Shop, landscape architecture firm Stimmel Associates, and general contractor Frank L. Blum Construction Co.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to organizations and companies that would like to help sustain and enhance ARTivity on the Green as a one-of-a-kind public venue.

For more information or to donate, contact Knabb at hknabb@bellsouth.net.