On September 27, Hispanic Alliance hosted a closing ceremony for Wings of the City. Many community leaders and elected officials were in attendance, including Russell Stall, a member of the Greenville City Council and the Hispanic Alliance Board of Directors.
Mr. Stall noted that almost two decades ago, when Greenville’s Vision 2025 was conceived, two important goals were identified. The first was for Greenville to be an internationally recognized center for arts. The second was for Greenville to utilize art to fuel community conversations, dialogue, and positive change.
He declared that due to the presence of Wings of the City in Greenville, the community could consider the “mission accomplished.”
He noted that the exhibit was “the arts in action,” a shining example of how the Greenville community works together.
The impact of the exhibit soared to new heights as the days turned into weeks.
Individuals enjoyed the chance to share a public space while enjoying the exquisite sculptures from Meixcan artist, Jorge Marín. Of course, these experiences spread on social media platforms, and more people were drawn to enjoy the statues spread across Falls Park and at the Peace Center in downtown Greenville.
Keith Groce, a veteran HA Network community member, is the founder and director of Neighborhood Focus. Their mission is to create hope and opportunities for under-resourced youth and families through Christ-centered educational and social enrichment. Hispanic Alliance partnered with this organization to bring an artistic activity to our young Hispanic community members.
Over 800 posts on Instagram used the #WINGSOFGVL with an additional 100+ posts using the #ALASDEGVL
We are grateful to our friends at EP+Co for lending their expertise in marketing Wings of the City to our local friends. They helped Hispanic Alliance harness the arts as a force for unity and positivity.
An estimated 400,000 visitors interacted with Wings of the City and over the exhibit’s website has received 58,000 since March 2021.
An Opportunity for Civic Engagement
Great artwork sparks debate and conversation. Jorge Marín’s Wings of the City installation in Greenville was no exception. In addition to uniting our community through recreation and interaction with the sculptures, Wings of the City also brought Greenville together to engage in public discourse about artwork and the role of art in public spaces. Some citizens did not find the installation to be appropriate for an outdoor setting despite the Hispanic Alliance’s careful curation of the sculptures. This community-level debate confirms Greenville as a center for the arts, especially considering the fact that this smaller debate connects our community to a much larger and timeless series of questions: What is the role of art? What makes art appropriate or inappropriate for certain settings? Through Wings of the City, Greenville had the opportunity to add its voice to this conversation.
The community answered these questions with clear and overwhelming support for Marín’s artwork and the Hispanic Alliance.
This support sparked civic engagement. Many community members contacted their local representatives. According to the Greenville News, more than three quarters of Greenville citizens who contacted city council supported funding Wings, and a petition in favor of the exhibit had 6,700 signatures. In addition to contacting local representatives, many individuals and businesses continued to support the Hispanic Alliance financially. By supporting Marín’s artwork and the Hispanic Alliance, these citizens stood up for continued inclusivity and diverse expression.
Wings of the City not only brought artwork to Greenville, it also brought conversation and civic engagement. The installation inspired action, and, throughout the engagement and debate, one truth remained clear—Greenville citizens care deeply about their community.
Love & Support from our Community
We were overcome by the support our community showed us. When we lost the accommodation tax grant from the Greenville County Council due to the controversy, we received an outpouring of donations from the Greenville community that far surpassed both the grant’s amount and our expectations. This financial support, in addition to all of the engagement and vocal support for the installation, affirmed the importance of Wings of the City and the work we do as an organization. Though the installation has ended, we remain full of love and gratitude for our city.
Gratitude for diverse art from a local Mother (@jen_bunty)
“I am so grateful that my child got to experience this art. Even more so that she saw that art can be made accessible. Thanks to the vision of the artist, the hard-working people that brought this installation here and to all that donated to support it, she will grow up thinking this is normal and expected.”
We were able to achieve such great heights because of the tremendous support we received from the community.
With your continued support, the Hispanic Alliance will continue to push the upstate into a more inclusive and prosperous place for us all to enjoy.