Since the inception of the Environmental and Heritage Center (EHC) almost 10 years ago, it has been our intention to develop an art program that incorporates nature and promotes environmental themes. Today, with the Environmental and Heritage Center (EHC) Foundation, we announce that this goal has come to fruition. Funded by the private, non-profit EHC Foundation along with private donations, the sculpture pictured in the rendering above is the first in an endeavor to develop multiple reflective and interactive art spaces across the EHC’s 700-acre campus.
The subject for this first sculpture will be a physical representation of the EHC’s mission “to inspire and engage community involvement by encouraging natural curiosity and a sense of wonder about the world around us.” Entitled “Commitment,” this artwork captures the essence of childlike amazement created by our environment. Additionally, it illustrates the process of passing down knowledge and inspiring the next generation to embrace creativity, innovative thinking, and life-long learning. The sculpture, along with the ones to follow, will be placed in garden settings that we hope will promote inward reflection and public interaction with both the art and the surrounding landscape.
In developing this inaugural sculpture, it was important to the EHC Foundation to not only create an artwork that embodied the EHC’s mission, vision, and values, but to also choose a figure that was representative of the subject matter of the sculpture. Former Gwinnett County Commission Chairman F. Wayne Hill was selected as the adult figure in the sculpture, as it was largely his vision and commitment that brought the EHC into being and which today inspires more than 111,000 people annually.
This project also signifies the inaugural use of the turtle figure in a public art and cultural tourism experience with locations around the region. In various Native American cultures, the turtle has long represented the Earth itself. Like the other figures in the sculpture, the turtle is symbolic of a recognized need for the community, both young and old, to have a personal relationship with the environment. Envisioned to be a fund raising initiative supported by local businesses, corporate giving and private donations, the turtle character will constitute a public art initiative that would allow engagement across the county and beyond. We look forward to seeing people seek out these turtles while they discover what makes Gwinnett and Georgia great.
If you would like to contribute to the creation of this inaugural sculpture, tax deductible donations can be made by filling out the form below.