Dec. 14, 2022
Reading time: 2 minutes, 24 seconds

The University of West Georgia and the city of Newnan recently unveiled a sculpture designed by a recent UWG alumna that will enhance a place of connection and community-building in Newnan.

Kelli Cadena ’22
Kelli Cadena ’22

Standing more than 6 feet tall, the piece of art has found a permanent home on the LINC, a 26-mile, multipurpose trail throughout Newnan. The artist, Kelli Cadena ’22, cut the ribbon alongside UWG and Newnan leaders, as well as community partners, at the site near the Promenade area of the LINC just off Newnan Crossing Boulevard. 

It’s the first piece of art Cadena, who just graduated from UWG in May, has on permanent display in the public. She credits UWG’s art program – and the faculty mentors who guided her as a student – with bringing her vision to reality.

“This is so amazing; my heart is still pounding right now,” Cadena said after snipping the ribbon to officially unveil her sculpture. “I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity so early in my career. I graduated with a degree in graphic design, so I never saw sculpture as a possibility for me, but UWG has a fantastic art program, and my mentor, Ryan Lamfers, got me so excited about the project and made me see that anything is possible.”

The piece, modeled from historic patterns of the R.D. Cole Manufacturing Company, features several large triangles formed out of aluminum and four round basins cast in steel. Cadena received the raw materials from Bonnell Aluminum, a manufacturer in Newnan.

Cadena also benefited from the generosity of the Hollis Trust established to carry forth the legacy of Edgar Hollis Jr., a Newnan native who had a distinguished career in Washington D.C. When he passed away in 2006, a portion of his estate went to a charitable trust dedicated to maintaining a vibrant arts presence in the Newnan area. 

UWG and Newnan community members at sculpture ribboncutting

“We are always excited to celebrate our connection with the communities to which we are in service, especially when we also get to celebrate the fantastic work of one of our students,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, UWG president. “This type of project cannot occur without a lot of individuals coming together and understanding that this is how we enhance a community’s quality of life. We are grateful to our partners at the city of Newnan, the Hollis Trust and Bonnell Aluminum who supported Kelli in bringing her vision to life.”

Newnan Mayor Keith Brady echoed Kelly’s sentiments on the partnership, saying he looks forward to future opportunities to adorn the LINC with art like Cadena’s piece.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this beautiful gift of artistry that is now present on the LINC,” Brady said. “Artist Kelli Cadena, her faculty mentors Ryan Lamfers and James Davis, and the partnership between UWG and the city of Newnan made this special collaboration possible, and I am proud that our community will be able to enjoy it.”