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My Jogging Tour of Uproar Art

When you're running for local office and have two restaurants, three kids, two dogs, and one bunny, time is of the essence. I filed for office on Friday on my way to pick my kids up at sleep-away camp. I do my policy research via podcast and audiobook while I drive them to their activities ("Mom, can we listen to something other than this town council stuff?" Nope). I get up at 5am (or earlier) to answer emails.

So this morning, my campaign treasurer and I maxed out the hours in our day by combining exercise and art - we used the map of The Uproar Festival of Public Art as the route for our morning jog. Uproar is an interactive art exhibit put on by the Orange County Arts Commission. The festival has installed 60 works of art by regional artists throughout Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough. The public can view the works via artsy scavenger hunt, and then vote for their favorite. At the end of the festival, three artists will receive juried prizes and one will win the public vote, which comes with a $10,000 prize. The Town of Chapel Hill has also committed to commissioning a public artwork by one of the participating artists.

We're lucky to live in a town (and county) that recognizes the vital importance of "extras" like art. The collective psychology, and therefore behavior, of our community depends on our town showing us that we are worth the investment, that we all deserve beauty and thoughtfulness in our lives. A campaign supporter said to me recently that "the devil really is in the details." A town without the details of things like art and community connection is just a bunch of buildings.

We didn't make it to all 20 artworks on our run this morning, but it sure did take our minds off slogging through the July humidity. And it was fun and enlightening to scan the QR code at each stop to learn the inspiration behind the artwork. I have more art to see, but so far "Ethel's Ghost" with her big, red feet, by Doug McAbee of Laurens, SC, is topping my list. And just at the end of our tour, my treasurer took a bird-bomb to the head, which we're pretty sure means good luck for the campaign.

More art, less work. That's how I like my exercise.

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