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September Issue 2010

Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, NC, Presents 25th Annual Sculpture Celebration - Sept. 11, 2010

The Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, NC, in partnership with Tri States Sculptors Association, announces the annual Sculpture Celebration, the longest-running sculpture event in the southeast, which will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, from 9am - 4pm at the J.E. Broyhill Park in Lenoir, NC.

Celebrating its 25th year, the Sculpture Celebration will feature sculptural artwork by artists from the eastern US in competition for cash prizes totaling more than $10,000. For this day, over 150 sculptures - realistic and abstract, traditional and contemporary, movable and stationary, indoor and outdoor - will adorn the 7+ acres of the J.E. Broyhill Park.

Beginning at 9am on Sept. 11, visitors may stroll through the park and enjoy three-dimensional art and live music by Sylvio Martinat's Swing Band from 10am to noon, and the Harris Brothers from 1 to 3pm; savor hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, Blue Moose coffee drinks, pizza by the slice and other treats from local vendors throughout the day while children create sculptures from recycled items with assistance from members of Foothills Art Gallery. Admission to the event is free.

Blaine Johnson

On Friday evening, Sept. 10, 2010, the Caldwell Arts Council will host The Blue Jeans Preview Party where sculptors, patrons, artists and competition judge Dr. Lawrence Wheeler will gather for dinner and live music followed by a presentation by the judge. The event is open to all but will require tickets purchased in advance from the Caldwell Arts Council: Tickets are $15 per person.

Registration is open to any 3-D artist up to the day of the event, and each sculptor may present up to three sculptures. For detailed information and artist pre-registration, a prospectus is available by request from the CAC or online at (www.caldwellarts.com). Cost to register the day of the event is $60; however, significant discounts are available for early registration.

Stefan Bonitz ----------------------------------------------- Stronach

The sculpture celebration started with simple idea and a pig weather vane, which now adorns the roof of the Caldwell Arts Council at the corner of College Avenue and Norwood Street in Lenoir. Since then, Caldwell County's love affair with sculpture has become a near obsession as evidenced by Caldwell County being home to the "largest collection of public sculpture per capita in the United States" as announced in 2006, by the NC Secretary of Cultural Resources Libba Evans.

The pig was the first in the Caldwell Arts Council's collection of nearly 80 publicly-displayed sculptures, most of which are outdoors for anyone to enjoy at any time of day. The Sculpture Celebration which began in 1985 has been a constant driving force in building up the area's collection as well as creating a sculptor-friendly environment. It started small but now attracts artists and visitors from across the country.

"It's a great show for experienced artists, but also great for the first-time experience," Caldwell Arts Council Executive Director Lee Carol Giduz said.

According to the Caldwell Arts Council, the event's origins dates back to the early 1980s when Dr. Henry Michaux, a Lenoir native and sculpture professor at the University of South Carolina, conceived the exhibit with Sam Sturgis, a long-time director with the City of Lenoir Parks and Recreation Department. The goal was to host an event that would both celebrate sculpture and heighten the awareness about the J. E. Broyhill Park.

Bill Brown

Bill Brown, Jr., a local artist, consulted with Michaux and Sturgis for the event. These early visionaries successfully created a partnership between the City of Lenoir, which funded the event, and the Broyhill Family Foundation, whose private donations were originally used to purchase selected works. Over the years, the list of purchase sponsors has grown to include corporations as well as individuals.

Since the beginning of the Sculpture Celebration in 1985, the Caldwell Arts Council has purchased the 77 sculptures that may be seen around the county on street corners, in parks, public offices, schools, libraries and other public properties. Some are easy to find, standing tall along a school entrance or along a busy highway. Others are hidden treasures, part of a community-wide scavenger hunt yielding discoveries at every turn. For the adventurous looking for an outing: Map for self-guided walking tour of sculptures in the downtown Lenoir area are available at the Caldwell Art Council, area businesses, and the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce.

During Lenoir's downtown revitalization, streetscape improvements were made to include brick planters with pads for both permanent and temporary displays. A drive downtown offers bold designs, vivid colors and eye-catching pieces decorating the sidewalks. The public sculptures are provided by Tucker's Streetscape Gallery in partnership with the City of Lenoir. The deal has been so successful, artists can hardly keep up.

"We can barely keep sculptures in our downtown," Lenoir artist and entrepreneur Keith Willis said. "We get them in there, and we sell them." The original idea was to display the sculptures on a six-month rotation in the downtown area. However, as each piece sells, the sculptures are replaced as buyers claim them so the streetscape changes constantly. "I think it's one of the biggest things we have going for us," Willis said. "I think the arts - visual and performing - when it comes down to it, is one of the key components of our revitalization efforts."

Those efforts are thriving thanks to organizations like the Caldwell Arts Council and events such as the Sculpture Celebration, says Caldwell County native and artist Charlie Frye. He has watched both the sculpture event and the arts community grow tremendously over the years. The last five have been especially successful, he said - so successful that Frye has invested in his own art gallery on Main Street in downtown Lenoir. He hopes to see more local artists join him. "Art, in general, in Lenoir and Caldwell County, is really becoming one of our forefront attractions and amenities to offer to someone from out of town," he said, adding that many local residents are just discovering the wealth of visual and performing arts here. "We have art on so many different levels in this town. This is not a place you can easily say 'there's nothing cultural around here' like you can in some small town. You have to try hard not to see the public sculpture."

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Council at 828/754-2486 or visit (www.caldwellarts.com).

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