From a pool of more than 40 artists, six were chosen by a blind jury to begin design of five-feet tall, fiberglass Eagle sculptures for Georgia Southern University’s Eagle Nation on Parade.
Eagle Nation on Parade is a public art project aimed at providing opportunities for artists across the state of Georgia. The project salutes the traditions of Georgia Southern, celebrates the unity of the University and the community, contributes to the economic vitality and quality of life of Statesboro and Bulloch County, and supports student scholarships and research initiatives.
On Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, three of the first six completed sculptures will be auctioned off. Every two years until 2020, 10 more sculptures with original designs will be auctioned off until 50 are on prominent public display at the highest bidder’s location of choice. Most will be placed in downtown Statesboro.
The three at auction Feb. 4 will be GATA, Statesboro Blues and Farmer’s Market.
Greg Carter, sole proprietor of Carter Fine Arts and co-owner of Gallery 33 West, resides in Statesboro. He designed GATA, a sculpture crafted to pay tribute to Georgia Southern football coaching legends Erk Russell and Paul Johnson. The statue commemorates the remarkable rise of the Georgia Southern football program by “Erk’s Eagles” and the continued success under Johnson, who guided the program to its fifth and sixth national titles.
Statesboro Blues, designed by Kimberly Riner, is inspired by the song of the same name, written by Statesboro’s own Blind Willie McTell and made famous by the Allman Brothers Band. The sculpture evokes the classic song with a pattern of blue mosaic tile. Enrolled as a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Georgia Southern, Riner also teaches at the Creative Art Studio and the Averitt Center for the Arts.
Artists Colleen Beyer and Wesley Stewart worked together to design Farmer’s Market, a sculpture that explodes with a colorful display of local produce and agriculture from the farms of Bulloch County. Beyer received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of West Georgia and her Master of Fine Arts from Georgia Southern. Stewart obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Augusta State University and is currently working towards a Master of Fine Arts at Georgia Southern.
Three other sculptures have been commissioned.
Embrace the Heritage, commissioned by Heritage Bank of the South, to be placed on display at the bank’s Statesboro branch, is a tribute to Coach Erk Russell and the fans of the Eagle Nation. It was designed by Stephanie Arends Neal, graphic design art director and administrative specialist for the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art. Neal earned her Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from Georgia Southern, where she is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts.
Kristina B. Hall, a full-time artist residing in Brooklet, Ga., designed GSU’s Victory Eagle. The sculpture was crafted to pay tribute to Georgia Southern’s spirit and American patriotism. Hall earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Georgia Southwestern University and a Master of Fine Arts from Georgia Southern. The statue was commissioned by Rose Mae Bogan Millikan and donated to Georgia Southern to be placed on permanent display in front of the University’s Zach S. Henderson Library.
Pursuit of Knowledge is a sculpture designed to pay tribute to the everlasting nature of books. Designed by artist Rebecca Hampton, the statue captures the Eagle’s pending action of flight throughout the passing of time. Hampton resides in Hinesville, Ga., where she works as a freelance artist. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. The sculpture was commissioned by the Naomi Davis McElveen Memorial Art Fund. It was donated to Georgia Southern to be placed on permanent display in front of the University’s Foy Fine Arts Building.
The seventh sculpture of 2011 will be designed and painted by a K-12 student of Bulloch County. Teachers are preparing their students and one student will be selected for the project.
Eagle Nation on Parade is made possible by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) and the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art. For more information about Eagle Nation on Parade, please visit www.eaglenationonparade.com.