Town of Davidson announcement
Work will begin soon on a long-awaited public art project that will transform an empty space between the Davidson library side porch and CVS. A groundbreaking for the Main Street Book Garden will be Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. at the site.
The groundbreaking will take place near the side porch of the Davidson Public Library. In addition to beginning work on the project, it will also provide the opportunity to thank Wells Fargo and David and Betsey Stewart, who made generous financial donations to support it.
David Stewart said the funding that he and his wife have provided is an homage to their children and other relatives. “Our participation in the book garden was driven by a desire to honor our parents and families,” he said. “We feel fortunate that our families placed a high priority on classroom learning and outdoor experiences. To us, the Book Garden incorporates both and is a chance for our boys and the community to experience these aspects of Davidson in a unique setting.”
Jay Everette, Wells Fargo Community Affairs Manager and Davidson citizen, said that Wells Fargo has enjoyed contributing to the project’s success.”Wells Fargo is pleased to provide funding for this public book garden in Davidson,” he said. “We support many learning and literacy programs. Providing funding for this unique public space beside the library where people can relax and read is one way we can give back to the community.”
The Book Garden is intended to honor Davidson’s literary and academic history, provide a sheltered spot for reading and realize the artists’ creative visions. The artwork will reinvent an often overlooked public space.
J’Nell Bryson, the project’s designer, said the vision for the project has been both ambitious and exciting. “I am proud to work with the art commission in Davidson on the (Book) Garden project,” she said. “The design goal for the previously underutilized space along Main Street is to create an outdoor reading room and gathering spot where art becomes part of the landscape and landscape becomes art.”
Karen Donnelly, the chair of the Davidson Public Art Commission, said she and the other commission members are thrilled that the project is finally coming to fruition. “For members of the Commission, it has been an exercise in persistence to see the project become a reality,” she said. “Once the conceptual design was complete and we could truly visualize it, the Book Garden’s absence was perceived as a glaring void in an otherwise vibrant section of our downtown. This will be a wonderful addition.”
The Book Garden public art project first began in November of 2009, when the Davidson Public Art Commission chose Bryson, a landscape architect, as the project designer. Bryson designed a sculptural seating area for reading and relaxing under the large existing water oak and incorporated three works by sculptor Lydia Musco in the design. However, as federal, state, and local budgets were cut, the town could no longer support the project with tourism funds, and several hoped-for grants didn’t come through. Despite a generous donation from David and Betsey Stewart, a grant from Wells Fargo, and a grant from the Arts and Science Council, implementation of the Book Garden was put on hold.
In the spring of 2011, Wells Fargo again came through and donated additional funds for completion of the project. The bank strongly supports literary programs nationwide; it has also donated to the Ada Jenkins after-school program.
Part of the project is located on land owned by Louis Stephens, the developer of the CVS building. Louis has supported the idea of the project since its inception and was instrumental in obtaining the required easements for construction of the plaza. CVS and the library have also voiced their support for the project. The town will continue to maintain the area after the completion of construction.
Bryson said she expects construction to be completed by Labor Day.
July 5, 2011, “$50K grant puts book garden project back on track”
April 26, 2009, “New donations will fund another public art project.”
April 26, 2009, “New sculpture prompts admiration and puzzlement.”
Town of Davidson web page for the project, www.ci.davidson.nc.us/bookgarden