Together We Rise: Pulaski

Together We Rise: Pulaski 4The Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley asks, “Can we borrow your ladder?”

The Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley (FACNRV) is pleased to partner with Floyd County artist, Charlie Brouwer and Pulaski County artist, Barry Keller, to present a unique community-sourced public art project, Together We Rise: Pulaski. There is no fee to participate, the only thing asked of community members is to lend their ladders to the project. FACNRV needs to borrow hundreds of ladders from individuals, families, groups, organizations, agencies, and schools to create this monumental outdoor art installation at Pulaski’s downtown Jackson Park, which will then remain on display through June 1, 2023.

Together We Rise: Pulaski is the most recent in a series of similar ladder-structure projects that sculptor Charlie Brouwer first started in the early 2000s. Over the past twenty plus years, these projects have been built in Atlanta, GA, Roanoke, VA, St. Louis, MO, Winston-Salem, NC, Grand Rapids, MI, Wilmington, NC, Chattanooga, TN, Bluefield, VA & WV, Allentown, PA, Greensboro, NC, Rabun County, GA and Kingsport, TN. And soon, Pulaski, VA will be added to the list! This is a community-building project, inviting participation from the entire community by bringing their borrowed ladders together into one whole visual message. When assembled together with strong cable ties, the collective efforts of the community become visible for all to see in the form of a monumental sculpture that symbolizes, for some, the aspirations of the community and its ability to rise when efforts are made to work together.

“I have been a fan of both of these artists for many years. Charlie Brouwer’s ability to bring people together through his art embodies the definition of community artist, and I am so excited to see Barry Keller, an accomplished artist himself, work closely with this veteran community artist to learn more about large-scale public installations and Charlie’s tradition of engaging the entire community in his work. All of us at the arts center expect this pairing to lead to many more public art opportunities in Pulaski, and beyond!”, said the art center’s executive director, Becky Lattuca. “ And, to be clear, even though the sculpture will be built and displayed in Pulaski, we are inviting individuals, organizations and agencies from throughout the region to be a part of this community project by lending us their ladders,” she continued.

How it works: All ladders are accepted! Real, functional, broken, long, tiny, creative, hand made . . . If it’s your ladder/stepstool/chair – we’ll include it! As you lend your ladder, we will record & tag it. You and your ladder will be recognized on a list of lenders and will be available for you to pick up after the sculpture comes down at the end of May. If you would prefer to donate your ladder rather than have it returned, it will be donated to NRV Habitat for Humanity and the Tool Lending Library.

When and Where to Lend Your Ladder: April 15 – 29: Accepting loaned ladders at the Fine Arts Center, 21 W. Main Street, Pulaski. Hours: Tues., Thurs., Fri. – 10am – 5pm; Sat. – 10am – 3pm. Arrangements can be made to have your ladder picked up and returned to you by Fine Arts Center volunteers, if you are not able to transport your ladder yourself.

May 1 – 6: Sculpture Build with Floyd county artist Charlie Brouwer and Pulaski county artist Barry Keller. Ladders will be accepted daily at Jackson Park between 3:00 – 7:00 pm through Friday. The last ladders will be accepted between 3:00 – 6:00 pm on Saturday, May 6, followed by a ribbon cutting/opening of the exhibit at 6:30 pm on Saturday, May 6. The sculpture will then remain on display in Jackson Park, 1st Street NW, Pulaski, through June 1

The sculpture will be taken down on Friday, June 2. All lent ladders will be available for pick up from June 3 – 10 at the Fine Arts Center during normal hours noted above. Arrangements can also be made for the Fine Arts Center volunteers to deliver your ladder to you, if needed.

For more information, visit, call: 540-980-7363 or email:

“In the art world when we think of beauty, we often think that it’s visual,” “In this project, the beauty is in the whole process.” – Charlie Brouwer

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