OPINION: Almond releases full comments about library sculptures

Published 10:37 am Friday, February 24, 2023

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Editor’s Note: Stanly Arts Guild Treasurer Kathy L. Almond spoke to Stanly County commissioners Feb. 20, 2023 at their regularly scheduled meeting. Commissioners have voted to remove the public art sculpture at the lower entrance to the Stanly County Library main branch in Downtown Albemarle. Estimated cost of demolition and removal is projected to be $16,500. Below are the full remarks Almond shared with commissioners at the meeting. More on the meeting can be found here.

Kathy Almond:

Good evening.

My name is Kathy Almond, and I reside in the Valley Drive / Albemarle Community. I have been involved and worked with the local region for 30+ years.

Currently, I serve as the Treasurer of Stanly Arts Guild. It is that role I am here to represent this evening.

The purpose of the Stanly Arts Guild is to develop and promote educational activities in the Visual Arts of Stanly County within the scope of 501.c.3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Stanly Arts Guild is the County’s leading Visual Arts organization, which is celebrating its 60th Anniversary in the community this year.

The Stanly County Library, with its main branch located in the county seat of Albemarle, provides educational opportunities every day. Inside the Stanly County Library is a vast collection of the Literary Arts. Outside the Stanly County Library is a 3-D sculpture collection of the Visual Arts. What an excellent example of collaboration and celebration of Arts for our Community. Stanly Arts Guild seeks to ask Stanly County Commissioners to further investigate opportunities to save the artwork of Mr. Bireline, preferably in its current location at the Stanly County Library.

Destruction and/or relocation of Mr. Bireline’s work will not address the societal issues of homelessness and drug addiction. Drug activity occurs in many locations, both public and private. Have conversations taken place with Law Enforcement Officials (Sherriff’s Dept and Police Dept)? Are there possibilities to add safety and security measures such as lights and cameras to this site?

Art evokes emotion. Art evokes controversy and contemplation. For these and many other reasons, Art should be celebrated every day and in every way.

At a time when Stanly County is seeing unprecedented growth, prosperity, and an ever-changing landscape of opportunities, should we not work more diligently to preserve, protect and promote our resources and assets than to demolish, destruct and destroy them?

Please consider further investigation prior to taking any action to remove this Public Art installation. Thank you for your time this evening.