Kannapolis Public Art Program
As part of the West Avenue Streetscape opening in Ocrober 2019, Kannapolis unveiled its first public art in the City. The City currently has six pieces of sculpture and five murals. Each one is designed to reflect the City’s Discover a Healthy Life by celebrating innovation, recognizing the City’s history and future, encouraging imagination, inspiration, and creativity.
If you would like to make a donation for public art to the City of Kannapolis, contact Annette Privette Keller, Director of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704.920.4311.
The Dancers— West Avenue
“The Dancers,” was donated by the late Dr. Harold Cook. The eight-foot-tall sculpture captures two people dancing and is located near the intersection of West Avenue and Laureate Way.
Dr. Harold Lee Cook, a native of Kannapolis, passed away in 2012, and left instructions with his family to honor the City he loved with a monetary gift to be used for public art.
Relever— West Avenue
Lynne and Wally Safrit have donated a sculpture entitled, “Releve,” which means “To Rise.” In ballet “Releve” is one of the seven dance movements. This ten-foot-tall piece beautifully captures the fluid movements of a person dancing. It is located at the West A and West Avenue intersection.
The Safrits are natives of Kannapolis. Both have had very distinguished careers in the City. Lynne served as president of Atlantic & American Properties and Castle &Cooke North Carolina for 30 years. Wally has been the attorney for the City of Kannapolis for 35 years.
Smiley— West Avenue
At eight feet, “Smiley” is an Instagram favorite with children and adults alike. The whimsical and fun scuplture is made of stainless steel that has been purposefully aged by the artist. "Smiley" is located at the intersection of West Avenue and Vance Street.
Complex It— West Avenue
"Complex It" is ten feet tall and has brilliantly colored panels that are meant to capture the sun's rays. It is also made of purposefully aged stainless steel and is located near the intersection of West Avenue and Vance Street.
Discover a Healthy Life— Village Park
This sculpture is located at Village Park near the fountain and embodies the City’s brand, “Discover a Healthy Life.” The piece is ten feet tall and 83 inches wide. This piece is on loan from the artist indefinitely. It celebrates the peace and love that is found in the park and throughout the City.
LOVE— Kannapolis Train Station
The ten-foot steel sculpture simply spells out the word, “LOVE.” It has been purposefully aged to give it a sense of time and place in the historic downtown. This piece is on loan from the artist indefinitely. This piece encourages you to stop, hug it, take a selfie and celebrate all the things we celebrate and love about art and our community.
About the Artist
An engineer by day Tom Risser is President of U.S. Bottlers Machinery Company in Charlotte. He is a graduate of Guilford College with a degree in mathematics and engineering and an electrical engineering degree from North Carolina State University.
Twenty years ago, he began taking leftover materials from his company’s products and formed them into sculptures. As a self -taught artist he has experimented with many different types of medium including fused glass, polycarbonate, stone, paintings, shotcrete and photography.
Now an award-winning sculptor you can find his works in many cities, galleries, private collections, and businesses across the United States.
In 2016 he had a heart attack and subsequently heart bypass surgery. Since then he has incorporated hearts into many pieces of his work. The hearts are sometimes very visible and at other times they are hidden.
He is also known for his other hobby, skateboarding. He is the creator of many local skateboard facilities including WXW Sk8, The Blair Witch Ramp, Whip Snake Park and Tom’s Bowl. He has been featured on HGTV, Offbeat America, ESPN: Tony Hawk’s Giant Skatepark Tour and Carolina Traveler.
He and his wife, Daisy, have a son, Sam, and a daughter, Carson.