On Oct. 4, the Hobbton High School Art Club visited Whirligig Park in Wilson.
Upon ending our tour, we were astonished. The sky scraping sculptures were made from recycled goods like bicycle parts and household Kitchen items. When you see them in their grandeur, you don’t even think that something recycled can make such beautiful and amazing kinetic art. The park has an atmosphere that makes you feel like a kid again. The sculptures were all painted in colors that truly set the tone of the park. It was also cool to realize that these sculptures had been painted (using mainly blues, reds, yellows) to exact specifications of the original local artist, Vollis Simpson.
Mr. Simpson had been creating these sculptures for quite some time before his death on May 31, 2013. He never considered himself an artist, more or less just a “tinkerer” or someone that just liked to make things and challenge themselves. However, others around the world begged to differ. Mr. Simpson was able to see the popularity of his whirligigs go viral before his death. However in videoed interviews we watched from years ago, we would definitely say that he was different from many other artists we have learned about in art classes. He was very down to earth; I think he would have been amazing to meet in person!
The process of restoring the original whirligig sculptures has proved to be a challenging task for the team assigned to the work. Many of them are so old and weathered that the team actually decided to just simply “remake” the sculptures using the original sculptures as templates. The original sculptures will soon be housed in the Whirligig museum that will be located beside the actual park.
Since the Art Club visited Wilson, the park has been working toward being completely open to the public. Several sculptures are still awaiting installation, so hopefully the park will be 100 percent complete by the spring of 2018.
Our Wilson trip did not end there! Upon leaving the park, we traveled over to Barton College to tour their art department. We actually had our boxed lunches delivered from Tigs Courtyard and we were able to eat our lunch within the classrooms of the building. We devoured our delicious gourmet sandwiches and salads. That was cool because we were able observe a lot of student “in progress” artwork. It was very inspiring to see.
After eating lunch, we talked with an admissions counselor and then went off to the ceramics studio where we watched professor Mark Gordon do demonstrations in clay. We were able to tour the entire studio and explore the items within it. He even showed us how to throw on the potter’s wheel. It was very interesting because many of us have never seen that done before! We later walked over to the art gallery and viewed artwork created by professor Susan Fecho. She came by and explained her work to us. She had done a study on gardens and all things that come with a traditional garden. She also included old churches and graveyards in her work. It was cool to hear her tell us what she actually used to create the artwork, because much of it was actually “scraps” of things that she just had around her studio. Who would think that “scraps” could make such amazing artwork? We really enjoyed seeing the art world beyond our traditional classroom walls.
Overall, Whirligig Park was a beautiful place to see and an intriguing park to explore. I also loved touring Barton. It made me really want to take art classes when I get to college as well. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to visit these two amazing local places. Thank you Simple Gifts for granting us this amazing opportunity.