The spillway at Bringle Lake has recently transformed, like the butterflies that are abundant there, into something more beautiful. Once plagued by litter and lewd graffiti, local artists and other community members have come together to transform the area into what is now known as the Bringle Lake Art Park.
The Art Park, which has been several months in the making, features 33 sidewalk spaces which have all been painted, or are soon to be painted, by talented local artists. One of these artists, Jayme Vaughan, spent several days working on her piece to make sure it was just right.
“I began painting on a Friday afternoon and painted the following Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as well,” she said. “It took a lot of time and effort, but I’m so pleased with the end result.”
Vaughan’s piece features bright colors and a positive message, reminding all who see it that “The sun always shines brightest after the storm.” Her work is not the only show stopping piece out there. Some of the other artists who have left their mark on the area include, Lonnie Thompson, Dugan Livingston, and Chad Pirtle and family. Artist Kenny Clark from Atlanta, Georgia finished his piece, a mesmerizing portrait of a girl with star spangled hair, in record time of about four hours.
Bringing the community together was one of the main goals of Erin Rogers, who was the driving force behind the Art Park. The idea for the park originated when Rogers was hiking in the area and noticed how much the area was in need of some extra love and care. Rogers researched other similar projects in more progressive places, from Sweden to L.A. and modeled the park after them, with one major twist, community involvement.
“I wanted to find a way to counteract the vandalism and bring the community together to create a creative solution for our problem,” said Rogers. “Thats’ where most of our success has come from is bringing in people from the community rather than creating a barrier, because a lot of times what we tend to do is make things exclusive and try to control every aspect. I think part of the reason for success is because we invited a large group of young people out from the community. I knew that young people were the ones primarily causing an issue and I wanted to bring them in to resolve the issue.”
While working on her piece, Vaughan has noticed how supportive people are of the project and how the park is already starting to bring people together.
“I’ve had so many different people stop to ask about my work and about the project while I’ve been out here” said Vaughan. “They all seem so genuinely interested in the project and many want to know how to get involved themselves.”
While the first phase of the project, the painted sidewalk spaces, is almost complete, two other phases are planned. Phase two includes painting the trail archway and bridge, while phase three hopes to bring artisans into the picture.
“We want people who do woodworking, who do blown glass, and who do mosaics,” said Rogers. “Anyone who can help make engaging forms of art is what we’re trying to do for phase three.”
The Bringle Lake Art Park is certainly an asset for Texarkana and it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing sponsors and community members who have donated their time and money. Farmer’s Bank is the presenting sponsor, and donated $1000 to the project. All totaled, the park has received $3000 from the community. Several clean-up days have seen people in the community volunteer their time to the cleanup effort. One community member, Kelly Jordan, even donated game cameras to help keep an eye on the park and deter any possible future vandals.
The park is intended to be finished by summer of next year. A grand opening for the first phase will be held on August 3.
More information about the park can be found on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/BringleLakeArtPark/.
For other questions , or to learn how to donate time or money to the project, please email Erin Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org