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Public Gets Glimpse Of Proposed Fayetteville Street Art Project

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The public got its first glimpse Monday at the initial design concepts for part of Raleigh's new Fayetteville Street, which, if the concept holds, could have downtown visitors feeling the influence of Rome, as well as London and Paris.

Concept drawings are just that -- concept -- and can be difficult to read, but it's clear by the renderings that internationally acclaimed Spanish artist Jaume Plensa has big ideas.

At the end of Fayetteville Street, near the city's new convention center and a planned four-star Marriott Hotel, Plensa wants lights in the ground, lights overhead, lights in the trees and a giant spotlight in the middle of a curtain of water.

He wants the theater of the mind to enjoy his creation, known as "City Square," a name he partially borrowed from nearby City Market.

"A market always means a place for people," Plensa said. "People like to be part of a city square -- a place for people."

The project covers a major space near what some have feared could be an empty street.

"I've seen his work in Chicago, and I know what I'm talking about," said Lee Hansley, who owns an art gallery in Raleigh. "This is an exciting and wonderful and unique project with some wonderful elements."

The public is invited again to see the concept up-close Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Urban Design Center, 133 Fayetteville St.

"City Square" is a $2.5 million project, with major funding coming from

Capitol Broadcasting Co.

, WRAL-TV's parent company.

One of Plensa's most notable works of art is the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park in Chicago.


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