THE RIVER PARK ARCH
A video update from artist Jonathan Brilliant
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a delay in the completion and installment of the River Park Arch project. The project is still underway, the mandates and closures have stretched out the proposed timeline from Summer 2020 to a later point in 2020 when work can begin again in full. Artist Jonathan Brilliant shared a view of his studio and an update via the video linked above.
The Hillsborough Arts Council (HAC) and the Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC) along with representatives from the Town of Hillsborough and Orange County are pleased to announce the final artist for the River Park Public Art Project. Jonathan Brilliant, a Raleigh based installation artist, was chosen following extensive jurying to install his design at the southern entrance of downtown Hillsborough just inside River Park. Brilliant’s site-specific artwork titled River Park Arch was chosen from thirty-two initial applicants and three finalists.
The River Park Public Art project was initiated when the nearly 250 years old, venerable red oak tree on Calvin Street in West Hillsborough fell during Hurricane Florence. Brilliant will use the wood from the fallen tree to create a public art installation that will serve the community for years to come.
He is best known for work with recycled materials and his “Goldsworthy of the Coffee Shop Project” that involves forms created from re-purposed wooden coffee stirrers. These site-specific forms are created in and suspended from, ceilings in galleries and museums. Each work he creates is designed to enhance and complement its given setting, and the River Park Arch will be no exception. Brilliant designed this work specifically for Hillsborough. It will be a unique piece that reflects the deep respect for the culture and history of the town. Brilliant’s large-scale installation incorporates complex latticework from strips of wood that form organic, cylindrical shapes. “The re-purposing of the Calvin Street tree into the lattice for this new welcoming sculpture for the park will provide a physical and lasting connection to the beloved historic tree that provided the material,” says Brilliant.
The River Park Arch will be created using wood from the Calvin Street red oak woven over a steel frame. Brilliant’s River Park Arch will stand about fifteen feet high with two open dome-like structures at either endpoint. These base structures are inspired by the huts created by the Occoneechee tribe that lived along the Eno River in the 17th Century. The River Park Arch will span over one of the newly approved sidewalks to be installed at the northeastern entrance of the park across from Weaver Street Market. These sidewalks, part of the county’s River Park Improvement Plan, will include a stairway and ADA accessible ramp into the park from South Churton Street. The expected completion date of the River Park Public Art Project will be summer 2020. The project will be brought in front of the HDC this fall for approvals of location and materials before construction begins.