LAURINBURG — More than 100 people turned out Thursday to see what organizers hope with be a gathering space for the arts and the community.
For many visitors to the dedication of the Laurinburg Art Garden, that goal had already be achieved.
“I’m delighted with the garden,” said Kirsten Dean, executive director of the Scotland Memorial Hospital Foundation Board. “It is just so much fun.”
The garden, at the corner of Main and Church streets in downtown, is a combined effort of the city of Laurinburg, the Scotland County Arts Council and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Art Department.
The garden offers a looping concrete trail that wraps around and through the collection of metal sculptures. The garden also features a large scale Echode Project Mural by photographer McNair Evans on the wall of th A.B. Gibson Center.
Thursday afternoon’s ceremony kicked off the beginning of an annual exhibition of public art.
This year’s exhibition includes 16 sculptures designed and fabricated by 12 current UNCP students and recent graduates as well as four works by current UNCP professors. The exhibition was funded by donations from the city of Laurinburg. Officials also thanked the contributions of Service Thread Manufacturing; the Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation, Betsy Massey and the North Carolina Arts Council.
UNCP art professor Adam Walls, who helped lead the project, urged visitors to tour the garden and speak to the artists about the works.
“I hope everyone enjoys this great exhibit,” Walls said. “I would also encourage everyone to spread the word about what is going on here.”
Scotland Art Council Executive Director Erin Rembert said over the past several days, many people have stopped to comment on “how beautiful it is making our community.”
“We wanted to have people interested in the arts and in their history and we wanted to create a dialogue,” she said. “We wanted Laurinburg and Scotland County to be excited about their downtown.”
According to Rembert, the garden is intended to become a gathering spot for future public events such as music festivals, arts festivals, and other community-minded happenings.
“As an arts council, we want to promote a celebrated arts community where everyone has the chance to be inspired by the arts,” she said. “Today, I feel we met that challenge and with the continued support of dedicated volunteers, donors and a community that cares about their downtown and their culture, we can continue to do so.”