GREENSBURG – The Arts & Cultural Council of Decatur County has made a spring appeal to the community for support toward the ARTisTREE District and furthering the presence of the arts in Greensburg and Decatur County.

“Public art and development of the ARTisTREE District are our primary focus for 2019 and into 2020,” said David Fry, executive director of the Arts Council. “Since 1995, our vision has never been clearer. With over 3,000 pieces of input during the community vision, it’s obvious residents want more. Today, we hope you’ll get a glimpse of that future and want to do your part to propel activity to the next level. Join us, and bring more public art, more entertainment, and help develop a vibrant new district in our community.”

The Arts District was established in August 2018. It begins at the Tree County Players playhouse on West Main Street, covers the Historic District and Main Street District, and extends to include Rebekah Park and Greensburg High School. Nearly 40 cultural assets, more than 60 cultural programs, and 119 economic assets are located within the district. The ARTisTREE District is intended to focus on expanding the current art and cultural offerings in the area, enriching the quality of life for local residents and visitors. 

Based on the desires expressed by the community, the ARTisTREE District already has several pieces of public art. A chainsaw carved dog sculpture named “Barklee” adorns the Tree City Bark Park. Barklee was carved from an ash tree removed from the park during construction. Fry said the sculpture has been extremely well received by the public.

Numerous public murals have been placed on buildings on and near the downtown square. Locals and visitors can get their “wings” on North Street (on the side of the Watson Chiropractic Center building) at a mural by Colorado artist Kelsey Montague. Another whimsical mural by local artist Haley Burton can be found at the rear of the Decatur County Community Foundation. The western side of a building on West Main Street proclaims that “Love Grows Here” in vibrant color.

Art students from Greensburg High School are also working to create a new mural on a utility building at Rebekah Park.

“This installation in Rebekah Park will improve the looks of a Parks maintenance building and be visible both from the trail and Central Avenue,” Fry said. “We expect to feature even more such partnerships in the future.”

An exciting new project the Arts Council is working toward is a proposed amphitheater at Rebekah Park. Duke Energy generously gave a $12,000 grant late last fall to help fund the project. The venue would further advance local arts and would serve to host small concerts, duos, combos, school performances, and entertainment during park function, according to Fry.

“It’s a community gathering space that fits with other planned improvements in the area and we hope to see it completed this summer through cooperation with others,” Fry said.

Fry said the Arts Council would also like to work toward bringing additional public art to the area. In literature distributed to potential supporters, Fry mentioned a small mural from another city where electric meters were incorporated into the portrait of a “fiendish character.” 

“They bring an element of surprise and could be made part of a larger attraction,” Fry said. “We’d like to utilize local artists and guests to take existing infrastructure in the ARTisTREE District and give it a new, whimsical look.”

The Arts Council seeks members and financial partners to continue growing the council, the arts district, and to celebrate art in and around Decatur County. There are levels of involvement for everyone and all are invited to learn more about how they can be a part of the growing movement for public art. Whether donating funds, volunteering time, moral support, spreading the word, or taking part in another way, art is for all.

The Arts Council has information about various financial partnership levels, ranging from gifts of $100 to several thousand. The board is committed to regranting 10 percent of the funds raised toward new programming within the district.

“A more vibrant district will improve the quality of live, attract more visitors, and provide more options for you and your family,” Fry said. “We’ll also be pursuing new projects such as a community band!”

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