Location: Suwanee, GA, United States
Completion date: 2023
Special Projects Coordinator
Film and Editing
Supported the Project
Public Arts Commission
Host of TV Show "Hoarders' and Suwannee Resident
Public Artist, Designed and Fabricated Sculpture
Director of Explore Gwinnett and Administrator of the Gwinnett Creativity Fund
Trophies turned into a community art project? Ever wonder what to do with those old trophies you kept safely tucked away for years in attics and basements, only to find that your adult children not only don’t want them, but can’t believe that you still have them? Throwing the trophies away doesn’t seem right but keeping them forever isn’t an option either. Suwanee’s Public Arts Commission devised the perfect solution – a temporary community art project using donated trophies! In the fall of 2022, the City of Suwanee collected over 3,000 old trophies, plaques, medals, and other outdated relics of past glory and commissioned artist Phil Proctor to create an awe-inspiring, giant-trophy-out-of-many. Proctor attached as many trophies as the design could accommodate to a fabricated metal form. The 17 foot-tall, 2000 lb. sculpture was unveiled in Suwanee’s Town Center Park during the Suwanee Arts Festival on April 29, 2023. A video ‘artumentary’ of the entire process is currently being edited and includes not only time-lapse content and photos, but also interviews with those dropping off their trophies. The $40,000 project was funded in part by a matching grant from the Gwinnett Creativity Fund.
Suwanee's Town Center Park is an existing 10-acre urban-style park and home to our rotating, outdoor sculpture exhibit, 'SculpTour', as well as several pieces of public art in the city's permanent collection. The park draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually for our events, concerts, shopping, and restaurants. Since the Ultimate Participation Trophy sculpture is temporary in nature and such a cool and awesome idea, we wanted to showcase it and to ensure that it would be seen and appreciated by the most visitors.
Suwanee’s Public Arts Commission (PAC) Chair came up with the idea for the trophy project while traveling. She saw a smaller sculpture of trophies and thought such a project would be a good fit with the City's three tenants as identified in our Public Arts Master Plan: art+play, art+temporary, and art+city image. Working with the PAC, city staff got busy and called on Matt Paxton - host of the TV
show Hoarders and Suwanee resident - for guidance, as the project involved decluttering and letting go of items that can carry personal meaning. Matt interviewed the trophy donors at drop off and was also on-hand to speak about the project at the unveiling. We also reached out to professional artist Phil Proctor, whom we had worked with on previous projects, to discuss design ideas. He was excited for the challenge and was immediately onboard. From there, we took advantage of having a staff member who is talented in film/video and began to shoot an 'artumentary' to document the entire process. We applied to our CVB, Explore Gwinnett, which hosts the application process for the Gwinnett Creativity Fund Grant, and received partial funding for the project.
This is a temporary public art project and although we don't know how long it will hold up to the elements...6 months, a year, or perhaps longer, it has made a huge impact already. The piece is completely interactive, visitors can walk through, and under it while looking at the trophies, awards, and plaques. Trophies were used from all categories of sports, entertainment, academia, beauty pageants, dance contests, riflery…you name it and we have it. When the sun hits the piece, it casts a glow that's truly impressive. Notice that there is a large ‘S’ attached to each side of the sculpture. The City also contributed recycled items of their own - the letters came from a bridge that spans I85 at the Suwanee exit. They were replaced with lighted lettering. Several of the trophy-donors were parting with trophies that had belonged to now-deceased family members. You can imagine how difficult that must have been. Matt Paxton ('Horders') was able to chat privately with each of these folks, and also to interview them for the video 'artumentary,' at the trophy drop-off event. The video 'artumentary' is in the process of being edited and is not quite ready to share.