Public gets chance to weigh in on public art in Johns Creek

Leadership Johns Creek gives residents options for type, place



JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – With the go-ahead from the Johns Creek City Council, the Leadership Johns Creek class of 2013 is setting about to create a public art master plan that its backers say will give the city a unique identity of its own that will also serve as an attraction to visitors.

The Leadership class had two public meetings to get ideas for a public art master plan for the city. The class had examples of various types and styles of public art as well as several master plans from around the country to compare.

Visitors were asked to put sticky stars on the kinds of art that appealed (red) to them or they disliked (blue). The class also presented maps of the city with proposed sites for public art, and residents could show their preferences for those as well.

Most of the suggested sites are at the gateways to the city and in its parks.

Jon Mantay, one of the leaders on the Public Art Committee, said public art adds value to the city as well as gives it “panache.”

“When we look at other cities, we see that public art gives them a sense of worth, of history and warmth. It adds to the attractiveness of the city,” Mantay said.

Richard Loehn said art is an important asset to the community at large and to the individuals. He said he has spent most of his life as a physicist, and in physics there is one answer to a question and one way to look at the world.

He said that perception changed when his company sponsored him to get a graduate degree in the arts and humanities at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.

“Everything until that time for me was numbers and formulas. That made a real change in me; my eyes were opened to new possibilities. I see things differently. I realize now there are different perspectives. Public art can teach you look at your world in many different ways,” Loehn said.

Art can be like the roux in cooking gumbo. That is what gives the gumbo its taste. Public art is like that roux, he said.

Monica Murray, who owns Monica’s Boutique and Consignment Store, said she supported public art because it not only beautifies the city, but it can make the city a destination.

“It gives the city personality and atmosphere,” Murray said.

Brad Evans, a benefits consultant, said today, the city is a “blank canvas.” Public art gives the city its aesthetics.

“It says something about who we are,” he said.

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