The largest mural in the state is now complete as of last Sunday thanks in part to the dedication of a whole community striving to beautify Cayce square by square. The Cayce water tower on Charleston Highway experienced an overhaul with a tribute to USC and golf.
USC alumni Will Bryan just wanted to make the city of Cayce more appealing and with the support of a national muralist – Eric Henn — and community supporters, the Gamecock Water Tank Mural is the first community funded project under Bryan’s organization Public Works of Heart.
“I went to USC and have always painted murals mostly in residential and commercial areas and so many areas in the city (of Columbia) are run down that I thought would look great with a painting of a mural. People tend to take pride in their community,” said Bryan, explaining his inspiration for the water tank mural. “My wife (Katie) and I went on a mission trip to Haiti and we felt the impact of helping people in need. Public Works of Heart came out of that – beautifying the community and helping people less fortunate.”
The water tank mural benefited those in need in the Midlands area since the donated funds went to feed people through the Harvest Hope Food Bank. “Twenty percent of everything donated went to Harvest Hope,” said Bryan. “We were able to donate more than 60,000 meals to benefit the victims from the October (2015) flood.”
Bryan mentioned the meals were just sent out to those in need of food who suffered loss during the flood. In addition to helping people with hunger, the project stands as an icon which will hopefully carry the torch for future art projects.
Cayce Mayor Elise Partin is thrilled to have this trademark in her city as it adds a creative edge to Cayce. “It definitely is an icon and the kind of thing people travel to see. It’s a landmark,” said Partin. “Public Works of Heart purpose is to create works of art and benefit the community. This is completely unique.”
Partin also points out another iconic metalwork piece on Frank Street and is excited about the contributions of art projects in her city. The structure is 16 feet tall wired artwork inspired by Star Wars, Partin explains. “People have come here from other countries (and admired the art),” said Partin.
There is definitely an artist community in Cayce making the city a more beautiful place. Partin mentions the impact of Cayce Creatives as well as Arts Initiatives of the Midlands (AIM) as a couple of local groups quietly making a difference in Cayce while echoing the artist waves beyond this small city.
“Having this unique piece of art is awesome and I thanks the Public Works of Heart for bringing it to the city,” said Partin.
Bryan also credits the partnership with Cayce Beautification Foundation because together they had the idea to crowd fund the art work and give to a local charity. Because Public Works of Heart partnered with the Cayce Beautification Foundation, they were able to get corporate sponsorships from the likes of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Blanchard Machinery in addition to all the public support from people who purchased squares on the tower thanks to the impact of social media.
“It not only creates art for the community but it provides for those in need,” said Bryan. Now that the Gamecock Water Tower Mural is complete, Bryan is already thinking about the details for the next project.
“I would like to do one in downtown (Columbia) in honor of the victims who passed away in the flood (last year). I would like to do something in honor of the 2015 flood victims,” said Bryan.
For more information about any of the art initiatives, visit: www.publicworksofheart.com and www.facebook.com/Arts2Midlands.