Billboard art to bloom

Triad arts funds team up with Fairway Outdoor Advertising.

By Todd Cohen

[06.23.04] — Starting this fall, billboards throughout the Triad will feature original works by local artists, thanks to a collaborative effort involving Fairway Outdoor Advertising and local arts councils in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem.

Sponsored by Lorillard Tobacco Co. in Greensboro, the “Art in the Air” project will feature six works selected through a juried competition and exhibited on billboard space donated by Fairway.

The Augusta, Ga., firm, which owns hundreds of billboards in the Triad, will rotate the art work on billboards not being used by paying clients, says Adam Owen, Fairway’s creative director for the Triad region.

Fairway aims to display all six works at any given time, including two in each community, if possible.

Owen proposed the Triad exhibition based on an effort he helped the company launch two years ago with arts councils in Spartanburg and Greenville, S.C., where he was based at the time.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to get involved in the community,” he says. “It also is helping individual artists to get recognition on a scale they may never have.”

And Fairway can attract attention to billboards that otherwise would have had “blank copy,” he says.

A key goal of the collaborative effort is to “heighten awareness of the arts, and to take it out to the general public,” says Debbie Lumpkins, executive director of the High Point Area Arts Council. “Not everybody goes to an art gallery, so take the art gallery to them.”

To enter the billboard competition, Triad-area artists may submit work by Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. to The Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, High Point Area Arts Council or United Arts Council of Greensboro.

Select finalists will be able to display their work as part of an exhibition in 2005 that will begin at Theatre Arts in High Point in January, move to the Greensboro Artists’ League Gallery in February and conclude in March at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem.

Fairway already has begun promoting the competition on a billboard in Greensboro that refers passers-by to

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