Recently Completed Works

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Carpenter Park Swan Benches

Installed October 2018

Cary Visual Art, in partnership with the Town of Cary, worked with artist Christine Bourdette to introduce new sculptural benches in the park. These simple yet stylized benches, which mimic the appearance of swans, act as a landmark for the landscape. Learn more about the creative process behind this project.

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Misting Garden at Marla Dorrel Park Kids Together Playground

For this project, completed in spring 2018, artist Todd Frahm was inspired by the way children at the park interact with their surroundings. When he first visited, he saw one little girl drawing a cat that ended up having an unexpected outcome: "She said that she had trouble with the legs and made the only logical decision: She turned the bottom half of the cat into an octopus. She reminded me that her inability to render perfect cat legs was not a mistake; it was an opportunity for something new, different and unexpected. This girl needs nothing except to be reminded to hold tightly to her fearlessness and adaptability."

Stop by the park to see the finished results!

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Watch the videos below to see Todd Frahm's process of modeling clay for the four bronze Chimera added to the Marla Dorrel Park:

Downtown Park

On November 6, 2012, Town of Cary citizens voted to approve three separate bond initiatives proposed by Town Council, collectively known as the Community Investment Bonds. The Parks Bond package, one of the three bond initiatives, included the Downtown Park as one of several park projects. The location for the Downtown Park is within the block surrounded by Academy, Walnut, Walker and Park Streets.

The Town’s intention is to make its downtown a unique, vibrant, dynamic, pedestrian-friendly location that is a regional destination and a place to live, work, and play. As the Town of Cary has envisioned its future downtown, public open space has played a key role. Building on the interest in public space and the arts, the vision for downtown Cary includes public art. Working with Cole, Jenest & Stone to integrate the artwork of public artists into the park, Town Council allocated $161,000 for public art at its August 14, 2014 meeting.

The Town received 38 responses to the RFQ from artists across the United States through its 'Open Call' process. The Town's Artist Selection Panel reviewed proposals, interviewed three finalists, and then made a recommendation to Council to hire two artists: Carolyn Braaksma of Denver, CO and Matt McConnell of Raleigh, NC. The artists were tasked with providing unique entry features and balustrade railings for the park project.

Railings - "Green Light"

Artist Carolyn Braaksma has designed nearly 100 linear feet of steel panels, developed on the concept of local plant life and native elements found in the park. The railing will be along the overlook looking north toward the future phases of the park.

McConnell railings



McConnell entry markers conceptEntry Markers - "A Sense of Place"

Artist Matt McConnell

Artist Matt McConnell has designed unique entry markers to mark main pedestrian access to the park that have been proposed to flank each of the entrances off Academy Street and Kildaire Farm Road (4 total markers). The artist’s concept is based on the “community connection” concept -- distinctive of Cary’s history at a particular point in time and the mapping of neighborhoods in Cary.

Each entry marker includes detailed maps of neighborhoods which make up the square panels of the different sides. Find your neighborhood!

Community Connection Concept: History and Memories Mapping Neighborhoods


Academy Street Melody

Next time you are walking down Academy Street, look for the twelve benches by public artist Jack Mackie. These twelve granite pieces mimic the shapes of musical instruments that found an American voice in the Carolina Piedmont and Appalachians: mandolin, dulcimer, dobro, violin, and courting dulcimer.  IMG_2852

On each bench is a uniquely etched image of dogwood flowers and animals indigenous to North Carolina. One of the dulcimer benches, for example, features the Bickwick Wren, while the dobro bench includes the bog turtle. Every bench also features text, primarily drawn from poems, referring to either the instrument or to dance and music as a whole. 

The etched text is by poets who range from the classical (Yeats, Coleridge) to North Carolina natives (Carl Sandburg, RR Richardson, and Maya Angelou). These texts are sandblast etched into the granite and filled with Lithichrome Black Shadow, a standard industrial lacquer.

 Courting Dulcimer Family_jm Violin Player 2_jm


 Check out an interview with the artist Jack Mackie by poet April Halprin Wayland.


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