Unique art project, fundraiser coming to Cayce

A look at the new scheme planned for the Cayce water tower.

A look at the new scheme planned for the Cayce water tower.

Following the opening of its high-tech practice facility “The Coop” last summer, the University of South Carolina golf program is calling Lexington County and the City of Cayce home, something no other USC team can do. Now, the city is looking to make that distinction official with a large-scale art project.

Minor details still are left to finalize, but Cayce City Council approved a major step in the process to transform the ATMF water tank on U.S. Highway 321. They took action Tuesday at their September gathering and approved plans for the first-ever Public Works of HeART project.

Founded in 2012 by Will Bryan, vice president of marketing and art director at Genesis Studios, Public Works of HeART has the dual objective of beautifying cities and benefiting local charitable causes. When the Lexington County Gamecock Club came up with the idea to paint a mural on the water tank at the conclusion of its fall maintenance, an opportunity for Public Works of HeART to launch its first campaign ensued.

As Bryan explained to city council, the club quickly found out that the cost to have the structure painted would be out of its price range. Following a simple fundraising model, however, the project wouldn’t be out of reach if opened to the entire community.

A $5,000 grant earned by Public Works of HeART at the 2012 Ignite! Conference allowed Bryan to move forward with the idea and work with an experienced artist. As plans stand now, people will be able to “buy” a square of mural for just $25 even if they aren’t a part of the Lexington County Gamecock Club. Through a combined effort from hundreds of fans, the cost of the project can be met and even exceeded. Proceeds above and beyond will be given to a local charity.

Bryan said that Public Works of HeART already has the potential to launch similar campaigns and art projects all the way in San Francisco.

“But we want to do it here first,” he added. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Cayce. The water tank is begging for some personality.”

Since the city features USC’s top-notch golf practice facility, the artist who will paint the mural, Eric Henn, has designed his concept around that theme. The model mural shown to city council on Tuesday included the slogan “Cayce – A Home to Gamecock Golf” along with a silhouette of a golfer taking a swing against a sunset backdrop, USC’s block “C” logo as the “C” in Cayce, and the state tree, the palmetto.

Even the top of the tank would get a facelift for passing planes and passengers to see. If funding is available, it would be turned into a huge golf ball emblazoned with the USC logo.

“This would be creating a landmark for our area,” Bryan said, referencing the Gaffney peach and Anderson hot air balloon water tanks.

“It’s a unique endeavor,” Cayce Mayor Elise Partin said.

The finished product would be eligible for national contests that could potentially bring more exposure to the city.

Bryan’s plan included the tower being divided into 10,000 squares. After deducting the project costs, he estimated that the campaign would still generate about $60,000 for the charity that’s yet to be selected. He added that the cause would be one based in Cayce.

The design must still be given final approval by USC. The city’s regular water tank maintenance contractor will repaint the interior and exterior as required by DHEC regulations before Henn comes behind to hand paint the mural. Bryan said it’s likely the work would be finished by January.

Partin asked if the Lexington County Gamecock Club had declared its intentions to further support the project. Bryan said he thought members would and wanted to extend the sponsorship opportunity to other local clubs, too.

Council approved the project barring city staff finding out about any dramatic increases in maintenance costs as a result of the mural.

“I think even a Clemson fan would go for this,” Councilman Tim James said.

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