"Moving Forward" - Public Art

Public Art for the City's Greene Street Parking Deck

In August 2009, The Cemala Foundation officially presented to the City of Greensboro, "Moving Forward," a comprehensive public art project for the Greene Street Parking Deck. "Cemala chose to contribute public art to the City to express Greensboro's positive sense of character and identity," said Susan Schwartz, Executive Director of The Cemala Foundation.

Public Art in Greensboro, NC
Public Art in Greensboro, NC
Public Art in Greensboro, NC
Public Art in Greensboro, NC

The Cemala Foundation commissioned Burnsville artist Ron Fondaw to decorate the six-level deck's exterior. The theme of the art is transportation over 250 years and its importance to the development and growth of Greensboro. The project features three components.

  1. Each of the deck's three visible corners has five multicolored polycarbonate stylized wheels in vertical fixtures that light up at night.
  2. The low pedestrian wall along Greene and Washington Streets boasts a "timeline" made of hand-made tiles, colorfully glazed to reflect the wheels and the frames. The timeline showcases vehicles representing different time periods including a steam locomotive, a street trolley, a tractor trailer, cars of the 20th century, and ending with the HondaJet of 2010.
  3. The tops of the deck showcases a frieze with 6' by 6.5' blocks featuring geometric designs created to complement the elements of nearby historic buildings.

"Transportation is an exciting theme, because it is part of our past and part of our future," said Kim Richmond, Cemala board member and granddaughter of Martha A. and Ceasar Cone II, who created the foundation. The narrative accompanying the art and written by Gayle Hicks Fripp, Greensboro Historian reads:

"Transportation has always fueled Greensboro's progress. From the wooden wheels on 18th-century wagons to the spinning turbines of jet engines, moving people and goods has been a major element in creating local fortunes.

The first railroad came to Greensboro in 1856, and within 40 years the town rumbled with dozens of trains a day. A newspaper editor described Greensboro as "the gateway to the South" and gave the city its enduring nickname: The Gate City.

In the early 20th century, automobiles, buses and trucks competed with electric trolleys on Greensboro's streets. By mid-century, the intersection of two interstate highways propelled the city's trucking and distribution industries. An additional transportation innovation took place west of town, where Lindley Field, used by early pilots, developed into the region's airport.

In the 21st century, The Gate City is home to makers of corporate jets and big-rig trucks. Piedmont Triad International Airport, supported by a network of interstate highways, hosts a major express delivery hub and its many cargo aircraft. Transportation continues to drive Greensboro forward.

Future technologies will change our vehicles and transportation systems, and Greensboro will change with them, always striving to advance. We are a city on the move."

Details follow.

Parking Deck Public Art in Greensboro NCThe Schedule

  • In 2007, The Cemala Foundation decided to initiate a public art project, in line with the vision of The Foundation, which states in part, "The community is viewed as a desirable destination for individuals, families, and businesses including a thriving arts and cultural community." Cemala's vision also includes enjoyment of a thriving Center City that is the robust hub of Greensboro.
  • In 2008, the Cemala Foundation engaged the United Arts Council to coordinate the selection and installation of public art to be a gift to the City of Greensboro. The Greene Street parking deck was identified as the site.
  • A national Request for Qualifications was distributed in December 2008, with 91 artists responding to the call.
  • An artist selection panel met in February 2009 to review the applications and narrowed the finalists to four. Panel members were representatives from Cemala, United Arts Council, City of Greensboro, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and Liberty Oak Restaurant, which abuts the parking deck.
  • Ron Fondaw was selected as the artist in April 2008 because of his outstanding talent in creating public art and his experience in enhancing public buildings.
  • In the summer of 2009, people watched the installation of the pieces.
  • "Moving Forward" was gifted to the City on August 21, 2009.

ABOUT THE ARTIST - RON FONDAW

Public Art in Greensboro North CarolinaRon Fondaw has completed more than forty public art projects and his artwork is included in major art collections around the world. With an MFA from the University of Illinois, Fondaw is currently head of Ceramics in the Sculpture area of Art at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He has also been a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and other universities. Fondaw has worked in Japan and Denmark as well as sites around the U.S. and has received numerous distinctions including a Guggenheim award for sculpture, a National Endowment for the Arts and a Pollack/Kransner award. Visit Ron Fondaw's website.

About Public Art, Fondaw says, "Daily encounters with works of art have the potential to change how people perceive their surroundings and interact with each other. I like to define the essence of a place to express shared values with the community."

THE VEHICLE TIMELINE

Covered Wagon 1760
Stagecoach 1750
The Fast Walker 1780
Steam Engine 1860
Model T Ford 1908
Street Trolley 1929
Packard 1949
Chevy Nomad 1957
Corvette 1965
Honda Gold Wing Motorcycle 1978
NASCAR 1990
HondaJet 2010

THE GREENE STREET PARKING DECK

Opened in November 1972
Double Helix Design
Architect: J. Hyatt Hammond, Greensboro, NC
Pre-cast concrete with sandblasted concrete exterior
Total of 706 spaces on 6 levels

SPECIAL THANKS TO THESE KEY COMMUNITY PARTICIPANTS