Lone Oak butterfly sculpture.

Woodbury butterfly garden and sculpture.

Butterfly garden sculptures dot Meriwether landscape
Part of county’s ‘Murals and Monarchs’ tourism trail

Sculpture placed in butterfly garden at Regional Visitor Information Center in Warm Springs.

Manchester butterfly sculpture.

November 20, 2018

Butterfly sculpture place in Luthersville.

and our desire to tell our story through these murals and gardens,” McKinley said.


The butterfly art pieces will also raise the visibility of the arts and culture “by bringing art into the streets of our community and serve as a catalyst for future art projects under the umbrella of our Arts Meriwether initiative,” McKinley said. “Our community recognizes the value that arts can bring and we seek to capitalize on this to promote our economic growth and stimulate a greater public awareness of the value and impact of the arts on our communities.”

“We believe these art pieces will become a key factor in creating unique, vibrant and robust destinations which reflect the character of the community, yet also serve a highly visible role in communicating to our visitors and local citizens our keen appreciation of the arts and its role in shaping the identity of the community,” McKinley added.

Meriwether County has received several state grants including Tourism Product Development and Georgia Council for the Arts Vibrant Communities funding for the Murals and Monarchs Trail project. Funding has also come from the Publix Charities Foundation through the family of Publix grocery stores founder George Jenkins who was born in Meriwether County and graduated from Greenville High School. 

“These art pieces will become an important part of our community history and evolving culture, create a unique artistic element and add character and atmosphere to our cities,” said Carolyn McKinley, president of the Meriwether County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism.

  
Meriwether’s cities span a large geographic area of over 500 square miles, McKinley noted. “These pieces are intended to visibly underscore our commitment to become a more unified community with a collective identity while reflecting the unique diversity and character of each city and each garden.”

Meriwether County is part of the Presidential Pathways state tourism district, and the idea for the butterfly gardens came after a visit by McKinley to Plains, GA -- birthplace of President Jimmy Carter. Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter is a supporter of efforts to save the monarch butterfly. Paperwork was submitted for the Meriwether butterfly gardens to be accepted into the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail.

 “Adding the metal butterfly sculptures to these gardens will highlight and emphasize them to visitors and local citizens and underscore our commitment to the social, cultural and economic value of public art; our commitment to monarch preservation 

Winter may be near, but Meriwether County is looking toward spring with new butterfly sculptures as public artwork.

The sculptures now gracing butterfly garden spaces in Lone Oak, Luthersville, Woodbury, Warm Springs and most recently in Manchester join history-themed community murals along the Meriwether “Murals and Monarchs Trail.” There are also murals highlighting community heritage in the Meriwether cities of Greenville and Gay.

The project is made possible with Vibrant Communities grant funding assistance from the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Placing the metal butterfly creations by artist Todd Smith of Higher Vision Designs in the five municipal butterfly gardens is part of a multi-year, county-wide tourism and economic stimulus effort. After a state Tourism Resource Team visit in 2014 and its resulting report, Meriwether officials embarked on the strategic tourism initiative.