From Franklin Street to the Southern Village Green, new sculptures are popping up around Chapel Hill.
They’re part of the 2009-10 Sculpture Visions exhibition, which is being installed this month through Chapel Hill’s Public Arts Office.
“It’s like having a museum without walls,” said Jeffrey York, public arts administrator for Chapel Hill.
For this year’s exhibition — the fifth since 2004 — the Public Arts Office has loaned or rented sculptures to display them around town for one- to two-year periods.
Ten sculptures will be displayed this year, the most in a Sculpture Visions exhibition since 2006-07.
Charlie Brouwer, an artist from Willis, Va., installed his wood sculpture “Hope Is…” on Nov. 20 at the Hargraves Community Center.
Brouwer’s 8-foot-tall sculpture shows a man climbing a ladder. It’s made out of locust wood, a dense and weather-resistant lumber.
“As traditional lore says, it lasts 100 years,” Brouwer said.
Brouwer said he also mixes natural trunks and branches in his works along with locust wood sheets produced in sawmills to comment on mankind’s impact on nature.
“It reminds us we can be both natural and unnatural in a way,” he said.
Installations of the sculptures are still ongoing and are expected to conclude in December.
This year, the town increased the amount sculptors were paid to transport, install and loan their work from $1,000 to $1,500 due to newly available funds in the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget.
York said this increased the applicant pool and gave the selection committee a variety to choose from.
Gretchen Lothrop, a sculptor from Pittsboro, will have her 13-foot-tall, stainless steel sculpture “Grove” installed in early December on the grounds of the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center.
Lothrop, who had a sculpture previously exhibited in the 2006-07 series, said “Grove” is difficult to transport because of its height.
“I need a crane to move it, so I tend not to move it unless it’s going to be a good show,” Lothrop said.
Lothrop said her sculpture was influenced by the enchanted grove in Kenneth Grahame’s book “The Wind in the Willows” and plays on the idea of groves as sanctuaries.
She said she uses stainless steel in all of her sculptures.
“It has a quality of purity and otherworldliness,” Lothrop said. “It reflects what’s around it.”
Viewers are encouraged to let each piece speak to them in its own way.
“I hope that people are inspired to let their minds wander a little bit,” Lothrop said. “Let their own feelings come to them.”
Contact the Arts Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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