Kinston welcomes new ‘Turning On the Lights’ sculptures to downtown area


KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — if you’re out and about in Kinston, there’s something new added in the downtown area.

Two art councils came together on Thursday to create something they hope will catch your eye. The Kinston Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council are “Turning On the Light” with their new sculpture.

Each piece represents something about Kinston. For artist Lydia Aldredge, who designed the art pieces, that’s what makes this such a special addition to the city.

If you’re passing by North Queen Street and Blount Street in Kinston, you might notice something different. They are pieces of art that are new to the city.

“I wanted to do three pieces that talked about Kinston’s past, present and future,” Aldredge said.

It’s what she said she was going for when she helped create the pieces of art. But she didn’t do this all alone. The Kinston Arts Council and North Carolina Arts Council finally saw everything come together after two years of work.

“It is to provide connectivity between the arts council and other cultural resources and the Riverwalk and small businesses in between,” Kinston Arts Council Executive Director Sandy Landis said.

The three art pieces include a tobacco basket, a skiff and a feather.

“It’s hard to think about Kinston and East Carolina without thinking about its past, the cornucopia of tobacco of the world,” Aldredge said. “Skiff, which is a water element, sits nearby, and it encompasses the native canoes and early boats that settled here. The river today serves as a source of recreation and food.

“The feather is really about Kinston’s future. I see Kinston as a place rising from the ashes of a past built on a past of tobacco and textiles. Looking toward a future with creative economies or arts as its center.”

Whether you’re walking or just driving by, Aldredge hopes these pieces resonate with the community that she’s learned to love.

“It’s rare I get to spend so much time in a community to meet so many people,” Aldredge said. “I’ve come to Kinston 10 or 12 times and I’ve fallen in love with it.”

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