[image-1] Plant Vitae, an installation featuring sculptures engraved with local children’s drawings, maps of Charleston, and images of plant life, is now on display on the southern edge of Hampton Park, along Mary Murray Drive. The installation is part of the Art in the Parks program created by the Charleston Parks Conservancy in collaboration with Redux Contemporary Art Center and the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs.

The four large-scale pieces in Plant Vitae are made from wood and transparent cast acrylic, created by Georgia-based artist Joseph Dreher a.k.a. JOEKINGATL. Dreher worked with local students from schools near Hampton Park, as well as the Boys and Girls Club, to create the portraits found in the final pieces.

In a press release Dreher says, “People are my primary interest and it is my appreciation for people that informs so much of my creative work. My work is always multidimensional because I see a world where people are not flat. They are not obstacles, or heroes, or rogues, or saints. They are people — dimensional and deep. There are no strangers in your world when you meet people fully prepared to accept who they are.”

With a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Charleston Parks Conservancy is also working on a public art project along the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway. Parks Conservancy director Harry Lesesne says, “We believe in connecting people to their parks, and art is a powerful tool to connect people to their environment and to each other. In the same ways public parks and green spaces are accessible to the entire community, we want public art projects to function in the same way — drawing people out into the parks and deepening their connection to their community and their neighbors.”

Stay tuned for more Conservancy happenings online at charlestonparksconservancy.org.

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