Current Project | 70s Culture: Roll With It

Channel your ’70s vibe in the UnVacant Lot! The TCA Public Art Team challenged Brookwood School’s Foundations of Innovation Class (FOI), under the direction of Josh Hanke and Rob Clendenin, to create an installation that will reignite our memories of ’70s youth culture in Southern California and its impact on music, art, fashion, and society. The installation features 30 skateboard decks created by THOM Collective artists and FOI students, as well as interactive skateboard, surfboard, and BMX photo-ops designed and fabricated by the FOI team.  A groovy mural created by Fontaine Maury’s Lizzie Jones and Carson Howse pays homage to our neighborhood sk8board provider, The Kickstand.


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Culture and art have a way of invigorating cities, and Thomasville has a rich history of creativity. In 2014 the City of Thomasville, Thomasville Landmarks, and the Center partnered together to gather the community to create a vision for the development of the emerging creative district. Since then, the area has experienced tremendous growth. Dozens of small businesses, several locally-owned and sourced eateries, and a large new amphitheater now anchor the district to its entrepreneurial heritage. 

At the north entrance of The Ritz Amphitheater sits the Center’s UnVacant Lot, a once empty lot transformed into an artistically curated public space, which serves as the primary gateway to the amphitheater. The lot sits amongst several local businesses, and leads directly into the amphitheater area which hosts public art, concerts, and other exciting local events. Visit any day of the week from 7:00 am – 11:00 pm.

The public art team at Thomasville Center for the Arts challenged our very own Artist-in-Residence, Ron Thomson, to apply his master technique in oil painting into a public art mural. His installation became part of “Bug Out!,” a public art exhibition invading the nooks and crannies of Thomasville’s creative district with spectacular works of art to widen your view of the winged and wonderful bug’s world.

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Four photographers were asked to capture the faces of the people we often miss when our heads are focused on our gadgets. Justin Allen, Drew Balfour, Taylor Brandon, and Michael Serine exhibited a powerful display of 80 larger-than-life portraits of the people who are creating our community – when their heads are up!

This exhibition was independently organized by “Inside Out Project Group Action,” a participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work around the globe. The Inside Out Project is a creation of the artist JR, recipient of the 2011 Ted Prize.

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Tree Huggers was a public art installation created for the purpose of educating future generations on the importance of managing, sustaining, conserving, and maintaining our forests at all levels.


This collaboration between Thomasville Center for the Arts and Brookwood School’s Foundation of Innovation Studio was the first installation in the newly renovated UnVacant Lot.

Tree Huggers was created under the direction of Brookwood faculty members Rob Clendenin and Josh Hanke, Center Artists-In-Residence Sarah Painter (painter) and Robert Copper (sculptor), and Public Art Director Darlene Crosby Taylor.

Thomasville Center for the Arts sees opportunity in the unimaginable and transforms spaces into places.

What Do You Want To See Here?_Image

What Do You Want To See Here? was an installation that offered the community an opportunity to engage in the process of designing what they wanted to see during the period where infrastructure was being installed in The UnVacant Lot. A 60-guest community charrette dictated the design of The UnVacant Lot in phases, and overwhelmingly supported educational opportunities for all to experience.

Public Art projects in The UnVacant Lot are made possible by contributions from local businesses and individuals who are passionate about the vibrant future of Thomasville’s creative district. Join the movement by making a donation! Just include “The UnVacant Lot” in the notes.