Cefalo said the input of the business managers and owners is a key part of the selection process for the art pieces.
“We have reached out to make sure everyone is getting their voices in regarding the pieces, and seeing that it is an accurate representation of their business,” he said.
One of these pieces, ‘bench Vl’, was created by Matthias Neumann, a New York-based artist who uses fir wood to create abstract sculptures across the country in a series called “Basics.”
“So you are curious about it when you’re walking in the woods and see these two squares that almost seem to be floating, it inspires you to learn more about it,” Chapel Hill Library Director Susan Brown said. “And then you realize it’s a bench and you can interact and connect with it.”
Neumann said the main themes of his work are the ideas of temporary public art and the personal interpretation of the viewer.
“The name evokes the idea of what it is, and the dimensions and economics are such that you are very comfortable sitting on the bench,” he said. “However, the formal approach to it, it’s a very abstract object, but you would also see it as something that you are not supposed to touch but just look at. It operates in that in-between. It’s up to the viewer to negotiate with himself/herself.”
“Happy Wanderers,” a sculpture by Virginia-based artist Charlie Brouwer that consists of two sculptures made of Locust wood, is on display at the library trail as well. Brouwer’s depiction of a hiking grandparent and their grandchild can be identified across generations and makes for an interesting piece of public art, he said.
Neumann said his experience creating public art showed him that people are curious about it.
“In the short two days it took for me to install, I had interactions with people who were wondering and had questions about what it was that I was doing and asking, ‘What is that, a bench or a sculpture?’” he said. “If it is a sculpture, you may raise questions such as, ‘What is beauty and what is place, what makes a place more enjoyable or memorable?’”
Neumann’s art emphasizes the conversation that results from art.
“I do think public art creates an interaction, and raises questions — and these questions always lead to expanding minds.”