Richmond Road sculpture garden nears close

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

The Arts District field playing host to the Triangle Arts and Culture League's outdoor sculpture garden will soon be vacant once more. The installation is scheduled to close at the end of July.

"I wish that we could keep that," TACL founder and CEO Terry Buntrock said.

The installation at 906 Richmond Road includes Gregory Johnson's 275-pound "Plume," evoking movement of dancers, birds or whatever one's imagination might decide. Other works include Matt Amante's "Convex Discs" and Jordan Parah's "Up, Up and Away."

The city purchased several of the sculptures and will soon move them to the nearby Contemporary Art Center on Westover Avenue. New York-based artist Derek Chalfant will pick up his two sculptures, "The Dress" and "Bench and the House."

TACL is looking for another location for public sculptures, having earmarked $40,000 of their budget for that effort. Buntrock said the College of William and Mary's new dorm, the adjacent Richmond Hall that was formerly a Days Inn, factored into the decision to look elsewhere.

Williamsburg Police said vandalism was also an issue at the site.

"We've had a few issues of art vandalism in that particular area," police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said.

He cited incidents including someone breaking pieces off a large ceramic flower and and someone taking the tail off a lion sculpture. There was a camera in place but the angle didn't allow police to identify the culprits.

In 2015, the city gave TACL money to fund its startup, but beyond that, Buntrock said she didn't want to take money away from other organizations that need it.

"That was a one-time thing," she said. "We have not asked for or gotten any public money since."

Moving forward, Buntrock said TACL will soon meet with representatives from area localities to discuss its future, hoping to incorporate attractions like the Williamsburg Tasting Trail and the upcoming Billburg Brewery's "good location" at the Jamestown Marina into their plans.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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