Lenoir’s “Across the Grain” Named Great Public Art
North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association announces Great Places Award Winners

(June 17, 2019) – Whether it’s a mural-filled downtown, a sculpture park, or artistic bus stops, great public art makes you feel at home in a community. The “Across the Grain” art installation in Lenoir is an imaginative nod to Caldwell County history. It embodies the importance of story-telling in community art installations.

Great Public Art is something you know when you see it. These installations, large or small, make you return to an area time and time again. Using a technique called earthcasting, international artist Thomas Sayre created a concrete mold in the earth. The process resulted in an inspiring 26-foot diameter, 40,000-pound centerpiece for Caldwell County’s sculpture collection. Jason Burdette, who served on the expert panel and is the Planning Director for the Town of Davidson, said, “I found it fascinating that this massive piece of art was literally molded in the earth to create a circular hole saw – a tool that honors Lenoir’s historical roots.”



Other Great Places recognized this year are the Rail Trail in Charlotte as a “Great Street,” Queen Street in Kinston as a “Great Street in the Making,” and Union Station in Raleigh and the Alpine Mill in Morganton as “Great Transformations.” The Reeves Theater in Elkin and The Norris House in Raleigh were recognized as the “People’s Choice: Great Historic Rehabilitations”. Along with Lenoir’s “Across the Grain”, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson, “Milling Around” in Clinton, and the Hillside Basketball Courts in Durham were also recognized as the “People’s Choice: Great Public Art.”

This is the eighth year that the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association has sponsored the Great Places program, designed to bring recognition to great places across the state. Great Places winners are recognized at the APA-NC Annual Conference in October. Winners are also provided marketing materials to use in their business and economic development efforts, receive an award at a special presentation in their community, and will be featured on the Great Places NC and the NC Chapter of the American Planning Association websites.

Building on the success of the previous seven years’ Great Places in North Carolina initiatives, APA-NC is pleased to recognize these great communities in North Carolina. To learn more about each of the selected communities, visit www.greatplacesnc.org, where a photo gallery and list of the winners will be available.

The Expert Panel

The expert panel of judges included Jason Burdette, AICP, Planning Director for the Town of Davidson, Sunny Stewart, Communications & Project Manager at Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at UNC School of the Arts, and Walter Farabee, Director of Talent Retention and Recruitment for the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

About APA – NC

The North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association is an organization of 1,500 professional and citizen planners dedicated to preserving and creating great communities throughout North Carolina. The annual conference for the APA – NC will be October 8-11, in Wilmington, NC. For more information, please visit www.apa-nc.org.

The Awards Ceremony

APA-NC will present the award for Great Public Art will to the citizens of Lenoir and Caldwell County at 11:00am on Saturday, August 31, 2019. The ceremony will be held at Blackwelder Park, the site of the “Across the Grain” sculpture by artist Thomas Sayre, in Downtown Lenoir, NC.

A special invitation is made to all those who made this work possible, including Caldwell Arts Council board and members, Cheryl and Emerson Dickey, Kim and Steve Kincaid, Deborah L. Murray, Al and Lily Skok Bunch, Janet H. Wilson, Lee Carol Giduz, Norma S. and Jack Suddreth, Dr. and Mrs. Ted Yaeger, Anne and Alex Bernhardt, Liza Plaster, Carmela Tomlinson and Paragon Design Group, Greer and Chuck Lysaght, The Broyhill Family Foundation, Larry and Barbara Freiman, The Coffey Foundation, Thomas Sayre and Clearscapes, Rose M. L. Noakes, Merrill White, Rebecca White, the City of Lenoir council and staff, and Caldwell UNC-Healthcare.

All citizens of Lenoir and Caldwell County are invited to attend the ceremony!