Downtown Raleigh’s City Plaza to unveil three new sculptures

ccampbell@newsobserver.comAugust 23, 2013 

— Just in time to host the Hopscotch Music Festival and other big shows, downtown’s City Plaza will sprout a new public art installation.

On Sept. 5, workers will remove three sculptures that have been in place since 2011 and install three pieces from an Illinois artist. The changeover and new art loan will cost the city about $17,000.

Patrick McDonald’s work comes recommended by a familiar name on the plaza: Jim Gallucci, the artist behind the permanent “Light Towers” that flank the Fayetteville Street square. McDonald was in town years ago to help Gallucci install the towers, but the new exhibit is his first in Raleigh.

Previous art installations – including the current ones – have split the plaza’s three pedestals among different artists.

“This is the first time where we’re instead using all three pads to showcase one artist,” said Kim Curry-Evans, the city’s public art coordinator. “It’s going to be a big bang, because we’re talking about big red sculptures.”

McDonald said he’s looking forward to the exhibit, which will be the first unveiling for two of the sculptures. The third, “Diamonds Are Forever,” was on display in Chicago last year.

“I am very excited to be back in Raleigh,” McDonald said. “It’s my first one-person show of my large-scale works. I can’t wait to install them.”

The artists behind City Plaza’s current sculptures will arrive Sept. 5 to take the pieces home. McDonald’s work will go up immediately – just hours before the Hopscotch Music Festival begins. The festival’s headlining concerts take place in the plaza with national bands such as Spiritualized and The Breeders.

On Sept. 14-15, the plaza will again be busy with art fans attending the SPARKcon festival. Crowds for the Ray Price Capital City Bikefest and the World of Bluegrass Festival will also get to check out McDonald’s exhibit.

“This will be the perfect opportunity to bring in some new art,” Curry-Evans said.

The bright red twists of steel will be in place for at least a year. “If folks love them, there’s no hurry to take them off,” Curry-Evans said.

Campbell: 919-829-4802 or twitter.com/RaleighReporter

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