The new Abernathy Park will feature a playground with an artistic flair.

Building on the success of its Arts in the Open program, Arts Sandy Springs has teamed up with the Sandy Springs Conservancy to develop the Playable Art Grove, which will offer a sculpture garden with children in mind.

“Our goal is to provide a desirable amenity to the city of Sandy Springs, to promote the concept of art to public spaces, and to expose children to fine arts through interactive play,” said Cheri Morris, president-elect of Arts Sandy Springs and founding member of the Sandy Springs Conservancy.

“This will be an iconic feature for our city and the Atlanta area,” Morris said. “This is not just a playground. It’s fine art that inspires play.”

Currently in the early stages, this project will be funded through a $300,000 grant from Northside Hospital. The sculptures will be selected through a design competition commissioned by a steering committee with members from both organizations.

According to Morris, they hope to issue a Call for Entries this May and expect over 100 entries from around the world.  The selection and jury process will involve legal, child safety and art conservation experts. Installation, which may include up to 12 pieces, is projected for 2012.

During a Feb. 1 presentation to the Sandy Springs City Council, Morris asked Council to agree to to accept, install and maintain this gift. Mayor Eva Galambos said they would approve the project in accordance with the City’s gift policy in a consent agenda at their next meeting.

Following the presentation, which included photos of similar projects world wide, Mayor Galambos claimed “this sounds too good to be true.”

“You are giving this park a destination,” District 3 Councilman Chip Collins said. “What really makes it great is that there is something special to see.”

–Cathi Arora

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.