BURD statuette in grass in front of Pearce Auditorium

BURDs take flight

Brenau Center for the Arts and Design and Chamber of Commerce partner on public art project

As part of a mission to increase awareness of public art in Hall County, Brenau University and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2030 public art committee announced in March the Brenau Urban Rural Discoveries, or BURDs.

The public art project was conceived by Frank Norton Jr., a member of the Brenau Board of Trustees. Norton heads special projects for Vision 2030, a community initiative to position Gainesville-Hall County as the most enviable community in Georgia by the year 2030.

Norton discussed the BURD project, named in honor of committee member and Brenau President Emeritus Dr. John S. Burd, with Brenau studio art program director Claudia Wilburn and Department of Art & Design Chair Lori Gann-Smith.

Wilburn translated the idea into a contest for her graphic design and graphic art classes. Using 3D computer rendering software and 3D printers, 20 students created bird designs that competed for selection by the Vision 2030 committee.

“Public art invites the community to participate in something playful, like searching for the BURDs, and helps to build a sense of togetherness,” Wilburn said. “This initiative has the potential for those elements of play and community that we would like to see strengthened, and Brenau’s Center for the Arts & Design wants to be part of that kind of outreach.”

The Center for the Arts & Design was created this spring to support and guide the arts at Brenau. Part of its mission, Wilburn said, is to develop and support community outreach through projects just like this.

Jurors selected the winning design created by interior design student Carmen Garcia-Pitarch Lopez. She was awarded $500 through Vision 2030, and four other students received honorable mentions and a $25 prize.

“When I was given the project, my initial thought was to create a simple design referencing a pigeon because that is a common bird that I see back home in Spain,” said Garcia-Pitarch Lopez. “I was surprised that I was chosen because other designs were more complex than mine, but I’m grateful to be chosen as the BURD project winner.”

The committee produced 300 golden resin-cast birds to place throughout various sites in Hall County, including seven on Brenau’s Gainesville campus, in interior and exterior locations to be discovered by community members and visitors.

Carmen Garcia-Pitarch Lopez, a sophomore interior design major and member of the Brenau basketball team from Valencia, Spain, poses for a photo with one of the BURDs, a public art project to be placed around Gainesville by Vision 2030. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

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