N.C. Botanical Garden blooms with array of sculpture
BY GEOFFREY GRAYBEAL : The Herald-Sun
CHAPEL HILL -- "Ode to the Tomato Queen" was placed, appropriately enough, next to the lycopersicon esculentum at the N.C. Botanical Garden.
Frances WK Alvarino's clay sculpture, which stood next to a tomato plant, was named "Best in Show" at Sunday's 17th annual "Sculpture in the Garden" event.
The show involved 49 pieces of sculpture by 29 artists using clay, steel, copper, stone, brass, glass, cement and natural materials.
Artists and art lovers gathered Sunday to view the sculptures spread throughout the garden and for a reception, where the winning entries were announced.
Carrboro artist Mike Roig's "Yo-Yo's Muse" earned the first place award. Hunter Levinsohn's "Hain't I," John E. Michael Sr.'s "The Eagle Has Landed" and Jim Gallucci's "Cattail Garden Bridge" received merit awards. Frank Holder's "Weaving II" was given a judge's special award distinction.
Michael, who lives in Gibsonville, was displaying his work publicly for the first time.
He worked for 10 months to create "The Eagle Has Landed," a giant stainless steel eagle with copper feathers.
The 61-year-old retired welder has been creating garden sculptures as a hobby for the past 8 years.
"To me, I just consider it a craft and something to do with my time," he said. "I don't feel like you should waste any time, so I always have projects going because they say an idle mind is the devil's workshop, so there's no room in my mind for that."
Michael said the creation was the easy part.
Transporting and assembling the five-piece sculpture was the tough part, he said.
The hard work was not lost on local residents, such as Kendra Van Pelt of Chapel Hill, who stood admiring Michael's sculpture.
"It's very creative," she said. "They use the medium very well. They're all unique. I like them all."
Van Pelt was attending the sculpture show for the first time.
"It's in a beautiful setting with all the different flowers and plants and things," she said. "It just adds something nice on a sunny day. It makes your life sunnier and more enjoyable, I guess."
Chapel Hill residents Rickie and Chip Howard, who are members of the garden, were browsing while strolling along the garden.
"We have a few pieces in our backyard, so we just came to look and see what's here," Rickie Howard said.
All of the sculptures on display are available for purchase, ranging from $130 to $35,000.
"We enjoy art and creativity," Chip Howard said. "It's neat to see the creative expressions of our neighbors, essentially."