By Yustin Riopko
WAXHAW – Downtown will receive at least one new public art piece, while the outcome of another application remains up in the air.
Waxhaw commissioners came to decisions regarding two public art applications at a July 28 meeting, approving one and tabling the other for now.
These two decisions are the first commissioners will make as part of Waxhaw’s Public Art Policy adopted in summer 2019. Artists and applicants go through a Public Art Selection Jury consisting of three members of diverse town committees and two other citizens, all with related art backgrounds. The jury met seven times before recommending the applications to commissioners for consideration.
The piece approved for installation is a bronze statue of a soldier titled “Reflection.” The American Legion Post 208 Auxiliary applied to install a roughly two foot statue to rest on a short brick pedestal at Waxhaw’s Military Wall of Honor. Director of Parks and Recreation Dena Sabinske said the statue is meant to honor Waxhaw’s veterans and fallen.
The bronze sculpture may be new to Waxhaw, but its artist is not. Seasoned art teacher Peter Rubino already has one sculpture on display at the Military Wall of Honor where this one will soon accompany it, as well as others throughout Monroe and the Charlotte area.
The board voted to table another set of pieces until more information is available. The Arnak Ivanov family applied to donate and install a memorial consisting of two stone vase sculptures at Dare Steele Memorial Garden. Two Tuff Stone Vases, imported from Armenia, would stand among a half-moon shape of roses with a plaque meant to remind visitors of the history and tragedy of the Armenian genocide during World War I. Sabinske believes the memorial would complement the existing garden, which provides a quiet place to reflect.
Commissioner Tracey Wesolek wanted to confirm the vases fit the guidelines set forth by the Public Art Policy.
“The purpose of this was supposed to be that it comes from the artist itself. It was supposed to be opportunities for artists to share their work,” Wesolek said. “They’re chosen based on their past work and their qualifications. My biggest concern is that we’re going to set a precedent that goes against what the purpose and goal of the policy was.”
Commissioner Pedro Morey also expressed the concern that the Public Art Policy might have originally been designed for more of a local artist highlight.