Greenway Blueway Byway Skyway

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Client: North Carolina Arts Council

Location: Lenoir, NC, United States

Completion date: 2013

Artwork budget: $75,000

Project Team

Artist

Matthew Geller

Hutabut LLC

Industry Resource

Andrew Vrana

Metalab

Industry Resource

Chuck Lysaght

Lysaght & Associates

Client

Wayne Martin

North Carolina Arts Council

Overview

“Greenway Blueway Byway Skyway”, located on the Happy Valley Greenway, provides seating-in-the-round on a painted and galvanized steel platform cantilevered over the Yadkin River. Engineered like a diving board, the platform sways above the sounds of the water cascading over the rocks below. It’s a playful hybrid of a bridge, a scenic overlook, and a park bench, providing visitors an intimate way to engage with others or just enjoy a moment suspended in time and space in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. (con't below)

Goals

Last time you were standing on a platform cantilevered over the water, you were probably at the end of a diving board anticipating a plunge into the water below. This time, with “Greenway Blueway Byway Skyway”, you’ll find a meeting place and a respite—a place to relax, contemplate, and converse.

Those who walk up 40’ long steel gangway find themselves suspended in the midst of a picture postcard of the North Carolina Blue Ridge foothills featuring the Yadkin River, the Greenway, and grass covered fields with a red barn, a white farmhouse, and often grazing cows.

This work has been described as invoking the mood of a “fireless campfire,” where community and contemplation coexist effortlessly.

Matthew Geller’s public artworks set out to engage the public and foster a sense of community. His works are spirited, accessible—and very often unexpected. By using disparate elements (including everything from swings to showers to wind) in surprising and interactive ways, he aims to encourage engagement with the work and among viewers themselves.

Process

This project was developed with extensive community engagement and collaboration with the Happy Valley Greenway Committee and the Caldwell Arts Council. Metalab (http://metalabstudio.com) provided design development, fabrication documentation services, and fabrication oversight. Chuck Lysaght—Lysaght & Associates (www.lysaghtassociates.com) provided structure engineering services

Additional Information

I use materials from the everyday outdoor environment—anything from benches, to swings, to canopies, to water—& bring them into the realm of art. I create a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe & beguilement, often using existing artifacts from the site and retrofitting them to create a micro public square or landmark that encourages creative patterns of use. The artwork becomes part of the community's fabric & integral in shaping the way we live in public space. The idea is to surprise while fostering a sense of community around an unlikely object or site.