Life-sized “Art of the Horse” project anticipated for Foothills area

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 28, 2015

By May 2016, you can expect to see the area’s equestrian art taken to a new level.

Suzanne Strickland plans to bring 25 full-scale fiberglass horses painted by local artists to the Tryon, Columbus, Landrum and Saluda areas.

These three-dimensional horses will be provided with the help of local sponsors and Cowpainters, a company specializing in fiberglass animals used in public art projects such as the Art of the Horse.

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Local artists are asked to submit an application in order to be selected for commission. The artists’ work will be presented to an anonymous jury consisting of five local art community members.

Strickland plans to hold a community “adoption party” in which the selected artists are presented their blank canvas, in this case a fiberglass horse, and meet their sponsors.

Upon completion, the horses will be displayed at the sponsor’s site of choice, scattered around the Foothills. A map depicting the location of each horse will be created, as well as signage describing the horse and promoting its artist.

“We think it is important to tie in art to equestrian as they are both important to our area,” said Strickland.

The painted horses will displayed from April to August of 2016. They will then be publicly auctioned with 25 percent of the proceeds going directly to the artist. The remaining portion will be used by Our Carolina Foothills, a nonprofit organization, to promote the Foothills area of Polk and upper Spartanburg Counties.

This project is similar to the annual Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk held in Hendersonville, N.C. Fiberglass bears were given a themed paint job, spread throughout the downtown area and later auctioned to benefit local non-profit entities.

The Art of the Horse aims to use the popularity of events such as these to increase foot traffic, tourism and funds to fuel future projects and exposure for local artists.

“It’s a win-win-win situation for everyone involved,” stated Strickland.

To submit an artist application, contact Suzanne Strickland at 828-817-1079 or by June 15, 2015.