New downtown Macon music park debuts with encore of Sculpture Walk


Liz Fabian

Macon-Bibb County employees install two xylophones and a set of bongo drums Monday in Turpin Park’s new Music Sculpture Park on Third Street near Poplar.

While traveling out of town, downtown Macon business owner Scott Mitchell took note of a music sculpture park he happened upon.

“I fell in love with one and took a picture of it and Googled,” said Mitchell, who is chairman of the Downtown Macon Community Association.

The search led him to Freenotes Harmony Park, a company specializing in outdoor music instruments and launched his quest to find funding to create a similar park in Macon.

He secured a Downtown Challenge grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to bring new music sculptures to Turpin Park, which runs in the middle of Third Street between Poplar and Plum streets.

Macon-Bibb County employees installed two xylophones and a set of colorful bongo drums Monday near the corner of Poplar Street. A garden of musical flowers will follow, Mitchell said.

“All of the flowers are tonal instruments,” he said.

Mallets hang from the flowers and xylophones to allow passersby to make a little music.

“It’s a really cool project,” said Melissa Macker, executive director of the 567 Center. “They’re like sculptures but you can also play music on them.”

New landscaping also is going in around the musical sculptures for safety and aesthetics, Mitchell said.

The park will officially open with a news conference next week that will coincide with the unveiling of the city’s second Sculpture Walk.

Last year, another Downtown Challenge grant funded installation of four sculptures in downtown. Artists signed a one-year rental agreement but three of the sculptures have been purchased and will stay.

For instance, Vein Specialists of the South bought the ballerina that was in front of the Dempsey Apartments on Cherry Street and moved it in front of their office at 556 Third St. The blue peace sign in front of Michael’s on Mulberry and the guitar in the Poplar Street park also will be staying in town as three new sculptures are being brought in.

Although the new sculpture designs are a secret for now, Mitchell said one of them will be installed on First St. near  the Macon Arts Alliance and the 567 Center “to spread the love up there.”

Mitchell is always looking for ways to improve the downtown atmosphere, he said.

“Where can we move the needle? How can we make this a better place?” Mitchell asked.

The works of art have become a focal point for Maconites and visitors to snap photos or selfies to post on social media.

“It makes me smile every time I see one,” Mitchell said.

Contact Civic Reporting Senior Fellow Liz Fabian at [email protected] or phone 478-301-2976.