Public Art Makes a Splash in Downtown Hickory

The City of Hickory Public Art Commission will host a dedication ceremony for the installation of the City's latest art acquisition, Otter Out of Water by sculptor Harry McDaniel. The event was held at the new sculpture site at the corner of Highway 127 and 1st Avenue NE, across from Sally Fox Park, on Wednesday, September 13 at 5:30pm.

The sculpture was selected by the Public Art Commission (PAC) during a February meeting in which the group identified top artists and/or works, which they would target for acquisition during the 2017-2018 work year. McDaniel's concrete and mesh wire creation was selected for its intriguing form, implied sense of motion, and bit of humor; all of which are common threads in McDaniel's work. It was purchased from a private collector in Asheville and installed on-site by the artist. For more information on the artist, visit

In a continuing mission to expand the City's art collection and enhance the Art Walk through downtown, the site was chosen specifically so that passing motorists, as well as pedestrians, might view the artwork. Located near the fire department, along Highway 127, the sculpture provides a moment of pause and reflection for motorists waiting for the traffic lights to change. Some might wonder at its meaning, some might be intrigued by the form, some might get a little laugh at the whimsy of it, but it's hard not to drive by and think about it for a moment or two. Otter Out of Water will also be visible from the future City Walk bridge crossing over Highway 127.

Attractive new landscaping was designed and installed by the City of Hickory Landscape Services department, who are instrumental in enhancing all the sites selected for artwork. The public is encouraged to enjoy the relaxing new spot, whether on foot or viewed from their vehicle.

The Public Art Commission is a 12-member group appointed by City Council to provide a forum for integrating public art into public space, to help create a visual sense of the community, and to provide leadership in creating a public art program for Hickory. There are currently two vacancies, for Ward 3 and Ward 4 representation, and interested citizens may apply for the seats by submitting an application to the City of Hickory.

<< return to news