It’s been two years and counting since the last installation along the Waynesville Public Art Trail, but the waiting is finally over for what’s in store next.

“It’s not exactly a big reveal, but more of a little peek,” said George Kinney, chairman of the Waynesville Public Art Commission. “We are starting to explore doing a piece in the Pigeon Street Community related to the African-American history of Waynesville.”

Exactly what the piece would look like or where it would go comes later in the process.

When embarking on a new piece, the nine-member art commission comes up with general parameters — like the theme, location and budget — and then puts out a call for artists to submit their ideas.

“The commission narrows down the applicants, then the top artists do a public presentation of their art work,” Kinney said, explaining the process.

The public gets to weigh in on the final selection of which piece to commission.

The Waynesville Public Art Commission has shepherded the installation of 11 public art pieces since its inception in 2008. While most are clustered downtown, Frog Level and Hazelwood are anchored by pieces, as well — an intentional move to capture what’s unique about each part of town.

“Our mission statement is to enrich public spaces through original public art that reflects our community character,” Kinney said.

Paying tribute to the historically African-American Pigeon Community is a fitting extension of that mission.

First, however, the art commission has to finish raising donations for its last installation — the Plott Hound in Hazelwood. It is still $1,500 shy.

“Then we will get serious about researching the history of the Pigeon Community and thinking about what kind of piece would be appropriate for highlight the history of that area of town,” Kinney said.

The public art trail installations have been funded solely through donations and fundraising within the community — not town tax dollars. Waynesville town crews offer in-kind help, however, by building the area where each sculpture sits.

In addition to donations, the art commission is selling souvenir guidebooks of the art trail for $5 and Hazelwood Plott Hound T-shirts for $10 — available in many colors and sizes. Stop in to town hall or call 828-452-2491.

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