In 2012-2013, the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission’s largest project to date was a public art installation in the Atrium of the new Classic Center Expansion.  In June 2012, the ACAC convened a jury of local artists, community representatives, and project team members to select a roster of finalists and alternates from a national field of dozens of candidates who had submitted proposals.  Ultimately, the jury selected St. Louis-based, award-winning sculptor Maureen Kelly to create the installation.  Her concept, “Nest,” was inspired by Kelly’s visit to the Atrium site.  Kelly finds it difficult to describe the piece without referring to place and community because “I created the piece with the place and the community in mind.  It took shape the instant I saw the space,” she said.  She visited the site before she submitted a proposal and explains, “I could never conceptualize a piece without seeing where it will live.”  Suspended from the Atrium’s ceiling, the sculpture is strikingly visible both from inside the Atrium and, through the large windows, from outside.  Kelly encourages people to enjoy “Nest” from various vantage points—in the morning with the sunlight, at night with the special lighting, from the outside front windows, from the second floor.  Each of these views suggests a different idea.  The installation is expected also to promote tourism and encourage the reservation of the Classic Center Atrium for special events, therefore stimulating the economic development of Athens-Clarke County.  The very well-received ribbon-cutting and unveiling was February 16, 2013.

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