Have you seen the sailboat statues popping up around Hartwell, Ga? These charming sculptures began appearing around town in 2018 as part of a project benefiting the local arts center.
These unique and attractive sailboats are spreading across this small town on a big lake. So let’s take a look at where to find the sailboats and what this project is all about.
Where to find the sailboats in Hartwell
The Arts Center
The first sailboat was installed at the corner of Carolina St and E Howell St in downtown Hartwell. It was commissioned by the 2015 class of Leadership Hart. Their boat, painted by Mike England, is dedicated to the various ways that art can be appreciated in Hartwell, GA.
Artist: Mike England
HTC Telephone Company
Another sailboat stands at the HTC main office near the corner of Franklin and N Webb St. Artist Doug Blomberg’s depiction of children fishing in the lake evokes fond childhood memories for many of the locals.
Artist: Doug Blomberg
Hart County Chamber of Commerce
The sailboat statue at the Chamber of Commerce (10 S. Carolina St), beautifully adorned by artist Megan McCurley, is a collection of local landmarks and many scenes the town of Hartwell is known for.
It also features a quote:
You are worth finding, worth knowing, worth loving. You and all your one million layers.
Artist: Megan McCurley | Images from sailboat’s previous location at 31 E Howell St
At the northeast corner of W Franklin Street and N Forest Avenue, a group who call themselves 10 Friends commissioned artist Ann Carswell to come up with a design dedicated to the friends and families who know and love each other in Hartwell.
Artist: Ann Carswell
Hartwell Service League
In front of the post office, a sailboat purchased by the Hartwell Service League commemorates the many activities their organization has been involved with in the community.
Artist: Taylor Dubeau
Located at 205 E Franklin St, the sailboat in front of Caldwell Banker Fort Realty displays a proud patriotic theme. A stately bald eagle and American flag wrap the sailboat in a beautiful display of patriotism.
Artist: Taylor Dubeau
The sailboat at 440 E Franklin St is a tribute to the sport of bass fishing. Depicting a largemouth bass leaping out of the waters of Lake Hartwell, this sailboat statue is a bright and beautiful addition to the project.
Artist: Tam Tilly
Grab a map of all the sailboats right here.
About the sailboat project in Hartwell
The Sailboat Project was created by the Leadership Hart class of 2015 as part of their graduating project. All Leadership Hart classes are challenged to come up with a project that will unify and improve the community.
The class of 2015 came up with the idea to put out sculptures similar to the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. There was much debate as to the content of the statues, but ultimately they decided upon the sailboat which represents the community’s ties to Lake Hartwell which has a large sailing community.
Additionally, it was agreed that the project would raise money for Hart Regional Arts Center expansion fund which will allow them to increase the ways they can serve the community.
From its inception to the first sailboat, project leader Henley Cleary tirelessly worked to make their idea a reality. It took 3 years and several tries to get their design right.
The biggest hurdle was actually finding a way to make the fiberglass sailboats paintable. When the fiberglass boats were first revealed, they found that paint would not adhere to the surface. They had to go back to the drawing board.
And the ultimate solution?
Covering the fiberglass boats in car primer allowed them to be paintable by local artists.
In fact, Cleary says everything is made locally. She credits Atlantic South Plastics in Royston, Ga for designing the boat as well as coming up with a solution to the painting issue. The steel stands that the boats are mounted on was custom crafted by Fabritex in Hartwell.
Once built, the artist works with the individuals or companies commissioning the boat to come up with a unique design. The artwork on each boat represents the individual or business’s vision of what makes the Hartwell community special and unique.
Future of Hartwell’s Sailboat project
Cleary is ecstatic that the sailboat sculptures have caught the eye of the community, and more and more businesses have committed to displaying their own sailboat statue.
The next set of sailboats will be coming along soon. Look for sailboats to show up at the Dairy Queen, Fort Realty, Hart County School System, and the Haley building.
Cleary said she’s very excited to see more sailboats coming further down Franklin street, and she has been pleasantly surprised at the number of citizens who’ve expressed interest in purchasing a boat.
In addition to the 10 Friends group, another group of about 20 friends has commissioned their own sailboat statue. The design and location of that boat are still to be determined.
How to get your own sailboat
Businesses, churches, organizations, and individuals who wish to commission their own sailboat should reach out to:
The cost of the sailboats is $1800 which includes a donation to the Hart Regional Arts Center located at 338 East Howell Street.
The majority of the cost of each sailboat goes to the fabrication of the sailboat and stand. Remember that they are custom crafted, one at a time, here in the Lake Hartwell region.
So each piece is truly a work of art. And it’s the uniqueness of each piece and the dedication to their community that inspires each purchaser to invest in their own sculpture.
Are you an artist?
Cleary says they are always looking for more local artists to donate their time to paint one of the sailboats. If you would like to submit your design idea, please reach out to Henley Cleary using the contact information above.
Have you seen the sailboat statues in Hartwell?
Share your experience in the comments below.