ARTIST: Richard Coley and Ben Kastner
INSTALLATION YEAR: 2010
LOCATION: 185 N. Main Street
A hand-forged railing blends form and function, lapping this downtown mini-park with subtle depictions of the Smokies’ landscape and natural heritage. The artistic railing was the first in a trifecta of public art installations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and honor the park’s connection to Waynesville.
Dozens of local artists donated auction pieces to raise money for the commissioned railing, much like local school children pledged“Pennies for the Park” in the 1930s to help secure the national park lands. Along with mountain ridges and trees, the railing sports tiny salamanders as a nod to the Smokies’ fame as “Salamander Capital of the World.”
The artists hand-forged the entire railing using traditional blacksmith craftsmanship, even hand-punching the mounting holes rather than machine drilling them.