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FARNER: Advance Auto art finds 'lucky' match

Keith Farner

Keith Farner

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"Amne" a piece by Buford artist Harry Zmijewski, is made out of recycled car bumpers. It was part of the 2011 Suwanee SculpTour.

This match couldn't have come together better if it was scripted.

When Advance Auto Parts announced plans to open a store in Suwanee, and city officials mentioned its public art philosophy, one piece of art from the 2011 SculpTour exhibit almost immediately came to mind.

"Amne" a piece by Buford artist Harry Zmijewski, is made out of recycled car bumpers. It was part of the 2011 Suwanee SculpTour which ran from May 2011 to March of this year. It was previously displayed at the Suwanee Police Department.

The description of the piece, which is 15 feet by seven feet by seven feet and weighs 500 pounds, is "made to protect people from harm."

What better piece of art to display in front of an auto parts store? (Obviously, some people have raised eyebrows about the nature of the piece, and how far you can stretch the definition of art.)

For Don Moody, a preferred developer in the state with Advance Auto, the match was pure luck.

"It just worked out that he happened to build that," Mood said. "It was just a natural fit."

So Advance Auto purchased the piece for $10,000, which goes in line with the city of Suwanee's philosophy of purchasing a piece of public art, or donating 1 percent of construction costs to public art initiatives.

Moody said Advance Auto was glad to participate in contributing to public art.

"The initiatives like this to take on helps beautify the overall feel of the community and make it a more pleasant place to visit," Moody said.

The Advance Auto store is expected to open in late October on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road near QuikTrip.

While it doesn't have the same connection as Amne with Advance Auto, owners of an Ultra Car Wash location that's expected to be built in the Gateway area will purchase "Hammer and Nail," a sculpture that resembles an inverted hammer.

There's also Suwanee residents Cathy and Rob Rohloff, who organized a fundraising campaign in memory of and in place of a funeral for Cathy's sister, who passed away in March. The Rohloffs raised more than $11,000, and have plans to purchase "Sunset," which Cathy has said matches her sister's personality.

Using public art to decorate a city is becoming more popular. In my hometown of Louisville, Ky. painted statues of horses dot the landscape. In Athens, colorful bulldogs are the theme.

But these types of artwork offer reminders that art is, as the saying goes, in the eye of the beholder. That's always been my immediate reaction to the SculpTour pieces. They may not be something I would always picture in a museum, but the more the artists explain their vision, the more appreciation I have for the piece.

It's another way Suwanee distinguishes itself in the area.

Keith Farner covers Suwanee for the Daily Post. Reach him at keith.farner@gwinnettdailypost.com.