Client: North Carolina Arts Council
Location: Lenoir, NC, United States
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $75,000
Lysaght & Associates
North Carolina Arts Council
Greenway Blueway Byway Skyway, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, provides seating in the round on a painted steel platform cantilevered over the Yadkin River. Appearing like a discarded tentacle of a theme park ride, the work is engineered like a diving board, so that human movement gently rocks the platform above the water cascading over the rocks below. A playful hybrid of a bridge to nowhere, a scenic overlook, and a park bench, it’s been said to evoke the mood of a fireless campfire, where community and contemplation coexist effortlessly.
Happy Valley Greenway, Lenoir, NC
13’ x 12’ x 52’
Galvanized and painted steel
The 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 you find a meeting place, a respite, and fireless campfire—a place to relax, contemplate and converse.
Geller’s process always begins with stakeholder and community engagement which could include learning about the area's history, gaining insight into the community’s vision for the site, and brainstorming about what would enrich and bring together their diverse community.
Metalab provided project management, design development, and fabrication oversite services.
In his public art practice, Matthew Geller’s participatory sculptures become one of the building blocks that make a space a destination. As such, the work activates the site and promotes interaction among visitors, often creating intimate moments in a singularly public space. Part of his work’s success is that it is physically experiential: viewers understand that there is a place for themselves in it. His sculptures enable moments of respite and delight, befitting the site's functional and visual context. He purposefully uses materials from the everyday environment creating a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe and beguilement. The idea is to surprise while fostering the sense of an inclusive community around an unlikely object or location, creating a micro public square or landmark. By considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and changes in the weather, the resulting work is in constant flux. Ultimately, the artwork’s goal will be to engender a sense of wonder, enhancing the community and visitor experience.