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Suwanee officials weigh Sept. 11 artifact proposal

File Photo: John Bohn A piece of metal from the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan is unveiled last year at a ceremony in Town Center Park. Chief of Police Mike Jones, left, salutes remains with City of Suwanee police officers and firefighters.

File Photo: John Bohn A piece of metal from the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan is unveiled last year at a ceremony in Town Center Park. Chief of Police Mike Jones, left, salutes remains with City of Suwanee police officers and firefighters.

SUWANEE -- The Sept. 11 artifact from a World Trade Center tower has taken another step toward becoming a permanent part of Suwanee's vibrant arts community.

Last week, a Georgia Southern University art professor gave a presentation to City Council members and city staff about how his rendition of the artwork would look at what could be its permanent location in the city. Marc Moulton, who has made two pieces in Suwanee's SculpTour exhibit, said he wanted the piece to be understood in its context and for visitors to have an emotional connection to it.

"I think it's something that will last for decades," he said. "Take that memory or feeling and transfer it down the road."

Moulton first heard about the city's Sept. 11 artifact about eight months ago, and the city put out requests for proposal about two months ago.

If approved by the Council, Moulton said he could envision an unveiling near Sept. 11, 2013, in the north end of Town Center Park near the intersection of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Other areas the Public Arts Commission reviewed to locate the piece were at the fire station and police station across from City Hall, and several locations in and around Town Center.

Suwanee is one of 24 communities and organizations in Georgia that received an artifact from the fallen towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Last year, the city held a 10-year anniversary event that featured bagpipes and a candlelight ceremony. The piece of steel weighs 1,638 pounds and is 90 inches long, 89 inches tall and 55 inches wide.

In an introduction of Moulton before his presentation, Public Arts Commission chair Linnea Miller said Moulton's work would be important for younger generations of residents, particularly people who were born after Sept. 11, 2001.

"He put a lot of thought and vision into the proposal," Miller said.

Denise Brinson, economic and community development director for the city of Suwanee, said Moulton has an "array of experience" and was listed as No. 1 or 2 among the PAC members who viewed the 15 proposals the city received.

Some of that experience was working with 15 or 16 municipalities, universities or other public groups in places like Iowa, Wisonsin and Georgia, Moulton said.

The crux of Moulton's presentation is to project a cone of light through the piece, which will feature concentric circles that include key flight information of the day, such as their origination and time of crash.

"The cone idea is not new to me; I've done that before," he said. "It's kind of my signature piece to light things up."

Part of Moulton's research included a clock on the base on the exhibit, and to have sun light and shadows reflect at important times when events happened on Sept. 11, 2001. He wants a shadow to hit at approximately 10 a.m., but also a dramatic change from day to night.

To bend the steel, Moulton visited a press break in Macon that had enough pressure and power to manipulate the artifact into a cone. The steel, although aged, is strong enough to have a football team stand on it, Moulton said.

Moulton said he was aware that protecting the steel could take away from its historical nature.

"This is the way this piece of history exists now," he said. "It will hopefully have a lot of reverence."

As for the Suwanee art scene, Moulton said he was impressed.

"I think that's some of the more genuine art lovers that I've ever met," he said. "They believe a lot in the vision of the city. They want the city to be a great place to live and an interesting place and have all of this stuff going on. I think that's wonderful.