New Sculpture on Augusta Canal

New Sculpture on Augusta Canal

The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area will unveil “Stone Boat,” a 50-foot-long sculpture by Augusta University art professor Brian Rust, in a ceremony Friday.

Inspired by the Petersburg boats once used to haul cargo on the canal and today used for canal tours, Stone Boat was funded through a 2018 grant from the Porter Fleming Foundation and National Park Service funds, according to an Augusta University news release.

Rust said the heritage area’s call for a public sculpture was “right up my alley.” His concept was chosen from more than two-dozen local submissions, the release said.

“They wanted the public art to be community-based, permanent and interactive, if possible. They also said artists could use materials collected from the canal itself,” he said.

Learning the granite curbstones along the canal once lined Augusta streets, Rust decided they were a perfect material for the sculpture.

“I like working with materials that have a history to them,” Rust said. “And I like working with logs or stone or something that has some sort of other purpose, so this was perfect.”

Augusta Canal Authority liked several aspects of Rust’s concept, said Rebecca Rogers, the recently-retired marketing director for the heritage area.

“Of course, we love that the ‘Stone Boat’ has a wonderful connection to the canal and it is inspired by our Petersburg boats. It also looks like it will be durable and something that people can interact with, not just by looking at it. People can walk around it, they can sit on it, they can relax and really take a moment to enjoy the lovely canal.”

Rust has developed several site-specific sculptures in public areas around the country, including the Henry Lay Sculpture Park in Louisiana, Mo.; the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson; Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, N.Y.; and the Mid-Columbia Arts Center in Kennewick, Wash.

Source: The Augusta Chronicle
Author: Susan McCord