5 Must-See Public Art Pieces in Southern Georgia
From the towering oaks of Darien to the waterfront views of St. Marys, Southern Georgia wears its natural beauty on its sleeve. Protected State Parks like Cumberland Island and National Refuges like the Okefenokee Swamp preserve these picturesque landscapes for generations to come. Protecting these environments enables us to look through a lens into a place where humans did not exist. These ecosystems remain untouched, frozen in time. We stand on the outside, looking in, taking in its majesty and leaving only footprints. If these parks are the world without people, then what will we leave for future generations to discover? Like nature, no two areas are precisely the same. The history-rich cities of Southern Georgia recognize this and have started to display their individuality through public outdoor art. The murals and statues described in this article are some of the most unique and brilliant pieces in the country and fully embody the culture of Southern Georgia.
Veterans Memorial | Kingsland
Just off the path of Highway 17 in Downtown Kingsland, visitors can find five servicemen standing at eternal attention. The city’s Veterans Memorial park is a quiet area where guests and residents can reflect on all armed forces members’ sacrifices to defend our country. Statues representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force tower over their branch’s crest. Walls representing the different divisions surround a central flagpole with stars and stripes flying overhead. Kingsland is a community full of patriotic and proud people who take time out of their days to pay respect to those who served. Photos don’t do justice to the beauty of these statues, which is why they are a must-see for
any visitors to the area.
Owls on Osborne | St. Marys
Some of the most impressive statues are larger-than-life pieces that demand attention. Their size and position in city squares naturally attract the eys of visitors. St. Marys wanted their city’s organic beauty to be on display, so they reached out to Walter Palmer to create small owls to be placed around the town. The small bronze birds are perched in different areas near the waterfront, playing a game of hiding and seeking with enthusiastic visitors. During your quest to find all six sculptures, you will be unable to deny the charm of the second oldest city in the United States. Learn more about Walter Palmer in the “Owls on Osborne” article in Volume 1 of Southern Georgia Magazine, available to everyone on our website.
Lady Justice and Wings | Brunswick
The Glynn Visual Arts Committee has the “Brunswick Mural Project” to inspire local artists to give back to the community. While we invite our readers to visit all the city’s murals, we will only be covering two. Towering nearly two stories tall is the beautiful Lady Justice created by Jeff Lemieux. With her iconic scale in one hand and a sword in the other, Lady Justice stands in a rose-colored dress on a field of rich purple. This humbling portrait stands on Union St., looking but not seeing the foot traffic passing by. “Wings,” found on Newcastle Street, is an entire wall dedicated to the perfect photo op. Catherine Durrett wanted to contribute to the Brunswick art scene to inspire hope and happiness. The concept started with just the whimsical thought of children having the freedom to fly but grew as time went on. The mural includes over ten sets of wings perfect for visitors of all ages to use as photographic backgrounds!
“Hunt” For Quail | Thomasville
The city of Thomasville and its surrounding areas have a rich history of quail hunting. Sportspeople have visited from all over the world to participate in the tradition. The downtown pays homage to this history with their “Hunt” for the Lost Quail. Similar to the “Owls on Osborne,” these sculptures are cast in bronze and hidden in different spots around town. Should you decide to embark on it, the quest will take you across five blocks and require you to look high and low to find the hidden winged art. Paul Rhymer created 18 birds for visitors to discover. The city hopes your search inspires you to appreciate the beauty of their small town.
Tree Spirits | St. Simons Island
Shipbuilders once used the mighty oaks found on St. Simons Island to make the hulls of stalwart ships. Whether it was to weather, war, or misfortune, these ships met their demise at some point on the open sea. When these vessels sink, the spirits of their crew members will find themselves immortalized in the woods that started their adventures. In the 1980s, Keith Jennings was commissioned to give faces to these lost souls, carving faces into the trees on the island. To the surprise of visitors and residents alike, not all the trees showed captains’ faces. Jennings said he let the trees show him the spirits they contained, not the other way around. Discover the mystery and majesty of these trees during your visit to St. Simons. Most are on private land, but some are available to the public year-round. Check-in with the Golden Isles Welcome Center and get a map to ensure you don’t trespass during your hunt.