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Posted on: July 5, 2018

Open Heart, Open Wings - New Public Art in Lincolnton

Open Wings

LTN_logoNew public art installation takes wing on Rail Trail

Michelle T. Bernard

Jul 4, 2018


Artist Heather Tompkins poses on Monday with the wings that she painted in the tunnel under East Main Street on the Marcia Cloninger Rail Trail. Photo by Michelle T. Bernard


Downtown Lincolnton has taken wing. Human-sized interactive wings have been painted in the tunnel under East Main Street on the Marcia Cloninger Rail Trail, painted by local artist Heather Tompkins. The inspiration for this project, entitled “Open Wings, Open Heart,” which is funded by a grant from the Arts Council of Lincoln County, is two-fold. First, in yoga, stretching and opening up the arms is a heart opener, which is supposed to promote forgiveness and kindness. Second, the global Angle Wings Project, which was started by Colette Miller in Los Angeles in 2012. Angel Wings were first painted by Miller to remind humanity that they are the angels of this earth. Like the wings painted in Lincolnton, they are intended to be interactive public art that people can photograph and share with friends. Wings have been painted all of the United States and the world.

“Opening up our hearts, forgiveness and kindness are things that we all desperately need more of right now,” Tompkins said.

More wings will be appearing throughout downtown Lincolnton. A second mural will soon be painted on the opposite wall of the tunnel and two more in other, as yet undecided locations, are currently in the works. In addition, the students at UMAR have painted two sets of wings on plywood, which will be installed in downtown Lincolnton.

“We wanted to do something that was interactive and would bring notoriety to Lincolnton so when we got this grant and Heather and I started talking we put two and two together,” Downtown Development Association of Lincolnton executive director Änd Lynn said. “We are going to do a contest where people will submit their photos with the wings via Facebook with the hashtags #openwingsopenheart, #artscounciloflincolncounty, #downtownlincolnton and #lincolntonnc.”

The contest begins Friday and runs through the end of July. The winner will receive an original painting by Tompkins, a $50 gift certificate from UMAR and a $50 gift certificate from the Owl’s Nest.

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