Sugar Hill discusses art feature for city

SUGAR HILL -- At its monthly work session Monday night, the Sugar Hill city council discussed whether an art feature would make an ideal focal point for its recently begun $14 million downtown streetscape, whether amid the traffic circle at West Broad Street and Whitehead Road or in front of or behind the new city hall at West Broad and Temple Drive.

"I believe art should be a part of what we offer the city," said Councilman Steve Edwards, who submitted the idea for discussion. "I'd like to see if we can make this happen now, instead of on the back end."

Several kinds of art were suggested to the council by artist Lori Sturgess, whose Roswell-based company makes sculpture from recycled and salvaged materials. Discussed was a lighted tree of empty bottles and cans, perhaps in the shape of the city's sugar maple emblem, or a wooden wagon of mounded sugar, an element of the city's seal. Also discussed was something integrating the brick, stone, metal, concrete and whatever else the city hall is being made from.

Whatever, life-size or larger, Mayor Gary Pirkle urged nothing too modern for the rather conservative, turn-of-the-century style city hall and streetscape.

"If it's something that fits in and adds on, then I have no opposition to it," Pirkle said. "We're going for a traditional look, but something completely off the wall won't fit in."

Though price wasn't mentioned, Sturgess said she typically charges between $5,000 and $20,000 for downtown art. With help of structural engineers, welders, designers, etc., Sturgess said she's designed structures for places including a dog park in Macon and Colony Square in downtown Atlanta. She said another creation of hers is being considered by the city of Suwanee.

"I know art in communities around the country is a revitalizer as much as anything else," she said. "I love having art in public places and want it to reflect people living there."