by Sam Spence
A tiny corner in Ansonborough has gotten an outsized amount of attention in a dramatic makeover. Theodora Park at the corner of George and Anson Streets will be officially dedicated Saturday after a $540,000 renovation.
The upgrade turns what was once a dusty, little-used playground across from the back-side of the Gaillard Auditorium into an inviting, well-appointed pocket park befitting its location across from what will soon become the new Gaillard Center performance hall.
Named for Theodora C. Rawle, mother of retired public relations executive David Rawle, the park's rebirth has been a joint effort between Rawle, the Charleston Parks Conservancy, and the city of Charleston. Rawle, who lives nearby, helped raise the $540,000 that went into the project, which included acquiring a Philip Simmons-created iron gate and commissioning handmade fountain tiles from Maine ceramics artist Paul Heroux.
Happening upon Heroux surveying his work this afternoon as workers put the finishing touches on the tiles, the artist says he's been working on the project for over a year. The 370 tiles, which were individually designed, glazed, and painted by hand, will line the fountain that runs the length of the central seating area of the park. Heroux said he took inspiration for the shape of the overall fountain from boxwood hedges and abstracted lines seen in cracked ice formations for the geometric shapes that dominate the tiles.
The dedication on Saturday takes place at 10:30 A.M. The park sits at the corner of George and Anson Streets.