Art Department to Introduce ‘Art in the Park’ Series on March 20


MACON – The Art Department in Mercer University's College of Liberal Arts will present a series of public art exhibitions, titled “Art in the Park,” in Macon's Tattnall Square Park. The series of four exhibitions, which is funded by a Knight Neighborhood Challenge Grant, will take place over the next two years.

The first of the four five-month installations, “Art in the Park: New Forms from the Southeast,” will be unveiled on March 20 at 6 p.m. Sculptures by seven artists will be on display during the kickoff event, which will also include a tour of the recently opened Tattnall Square Center for the Arts.

“The Art Department is very excited about this opportunity to engage Mercer students and the Macon community with public artworks,” said Craig Coleman, associate professor of art at Mercer.

A call for submissions was released earlier this year, and the finalists were selected in February. The selected artists will receive a $1,000 stipend for their efforts.

The first installation will remain on display in Tattnall Square Park through Aug. 14.

The kickoff event will also include an exhibition by Preston Poe, who will serve the first of two 11-month residencies as a featured artist of the “Art in the Park” program.

Poe is a video sculptor/sound artist from Tampa, Florida, who is the creator of “YouTunes,” a performance sound project. Put simply, Poe spontaneously writes, plays, sings and records songs based off of answers from a questionnaire that he gives to people he meets.

For his first exhibition in Macon, Poe was given a list of local artists and musicians to contact. He has made several trips to the city since and has spent days interviewing members of the local arts community. From these sessions, Poe will create customized songs that will be performed live on March 20.

“Preston will return to Macon to teach a workshop later in the year, and he has an interesting idea to create a new art element we hope to install that will reference Macon's music history,” said Coleman.

The artists chosen for “Art in the Park: New Forms From the Southeast” include:

Charles Simon Bergen

Bergen received a B.A. in architecture from Yale College in 1985. Much of his artwork focuses on “water” wildlife because of their beauty, power, athleticism, and for some of them, their social nature. His work has been displayed in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Aaron Benson

Benson Sculpture LLC creates sculpture worldwide with budgets ranging from $10,000 to $395,000. Their works have addressed specific issues that are particular to a certain culture, city or event.

Jordan Parah

Parah is a young sculptor currently working part time at the Greenville Museum of Art in North Carolina. A metal fabricator, he connects contrasting forms, shapes and colors, relating to the idea that all people are different, yet all are equal.  

Jenn Garrett 

With a master's degree in interior design focusing on mid-20th century architecture, Garrett takes an architectural approach to sculpture. Her work reflects time spent studying sculpture in Italy – including in-depth studies in stone carving and the subtractive process – as well as time spent growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her latest body of artwork has been influenced by her role as mom to two children, wife to a scientist and the strong relationships she has with her extended family, many of whom reside in Gainesville, Florida, where her studio is located.

Aisling Millar

Millar was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1982 and immigrated to the United States in 1994. She received her M.F.A. in sculpture from East Carolina University in 2014. Millar primarily creates outdoor steel sculpture and has exhibited her work throughout the Southeast.

Christopher M. Lavery

Lavery has exhibited his work in the United States, Columbia, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Mexico, Palestine and Peru. He has held residency at the well-known Vermont Studio Center where he began to develop a new body of work about the rapidly developing global warming crisis and the melting of the polar icecaps.

Suzy Hendrix

Travel is Hendrix's muse, but her style fluctuates across centuries of muses. Currently based in Memphis, she incorporates many different mediums into her work, including art glass, mosaic, cast glass, epoxy, steel, aluminum, fiberglass and concrete.