BIG PICTURES Takes Art Outdoors

Cary artist Zeynep Guvenc, who works in water marbling, called her original exhibit "Magical Colors Dancing on Water." One image from the show is shown on a banner at Thomas Brooks Park.

After months of cancelled indoor exhibitions, a new initiative is putting local art on big display in Cary.

The Town of Cary launched the first exhibition of “BIG PICTURES: Museum Without Walls” in early August, transforming art intended for indoor galleries into three large outdoor banner displays at Thomas Brooks Park.

“It just seemed like a way to, at least, get some artwork out into the large environment, out of the museum walls or off the gallery walls, and literally and figuratively out in the environment,” said Denise Dickens, Cary Public Art Supervisor and Curator of Exhibitions.

The banners, 5 feet tall and as long as 16 feet, are placed along the chain link fences of the park as a stunning display of local art after months when it could not be widely seen.

“It’s pretty prominent,” Dickens said. “You cannot miss it.”

The first three featured artists are local photographer Fran DeRespinis, Cary water marbling artist Zeynep Guvenc and Russ Hughes of Sanford. All three represent different media, and were immediately receptive to the idea after their scheduled exhibitions were cancelled because of COVID-19.

Photographer Fran DeRespinis, for his original exhibit, selected Polaroid SX-70 images he took in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

“I was pretty disappointed that my show couldn’t go up,” said DeRespinis, whose banner features a photograph he took of a woman in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. “You put a lot of effort into a show, no matter what art medium you’re using.”

Hughes’ nearby artwork depicts a rustic rural landscape; Guvenc’s piece is abstract water marbling featuring various shades of blue and purple.

By being outside, Guvenc says her art can be enjoyed by a larger audience.

“I think that it was a great idea,” Guvenc wrote in an email. “This feels like I can reach more people than the exhibition space. BIG PICTURE of the art project is also a surprise for the residents. I haven’t seen the big picture of art in the park before.”

The three banners at Thomas Brooks Park will stay there for six months, Dickens says. At that time, the banners will be moved to another location and replaced with three new banners.

Eventually, the plan is to have nine to 15 banners rotating around town, though plans for more banners are not yet set.

Until art can be safely enjoyed inside again, the art scene in Cary will continue to adapt to the times.

“I thought it looked pretty darn nice and I was pretty happy with it,” DeRespinis said. “Friends of mine have gone to see it and they liked it, too.”

Sanford artist Russ Hughes depicted a rural scene.


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