Sculptures going up
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — A fish Glenn Zweygardt caught 15 miles off the coast of Florida inspired the sculpture now standing in downtown Salisbury.
Zweygardt’s mahi mahi, frozen in Miami and flown to his studio in upstate New York where he cast it in bronze, swims around “Tropical Encounter” next to the Rowan Museum on Council Street.
The 1,200-pound, 10-foot-tall creation is one of 16 installed Friday for the 2011 Salisbury Sculpture Show. This marks the third year the city’s Public Art Committee has put on the show, paid for with grants and private donations.
Zweygardt’s piece includes a variety of Floridian flora cast in bronze, like gigantic leaves and seed pods. A cast bronze hat made from palm fronds rests near the base of the sculpture, and cast blue glass embellishments catch the sunlight.
“Technically, this thing is loaded with all kinds of funky things you can do with materials, if you stick with it,” said Zweygardt, who has been a sculptor for nearly 50 years.
Randy Goodman spent the day installing sculptures with his bucket truck, a nervous artist at each location overseeing the process and giving instruction. For the first time, two sculptures this year are on display at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Sculpture shows like Salisbury’s allow artists to better explore their medium, said Paris Alexander, whose “Memento Mori” stands at the entrance to Rowan Public Library.
“Without shows like this, artists have no place to put their work,” Alexander said. “If you’re only working for clients, it inhibits your work.”
Alexander, who works mostly in stone, has sculpture on display in public shows in North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Bringing art from outside the community exposes people to new ideas, he said.
A stroll down nearly any thoroughfare in downtown Salisbury will reveal several pieces. It’s art for everyone, City Planner Lynn Raker said.
In this economy, many people can’t afford to buy a painting or sculpture, she said.
“For that reason, we continue to offer the nine-month sculpture show for people to enjoy, regardless of their personal economic circumstances,” Raker said.
The show has helped put Salisbury on the map in art circles, said Barbara Perry, chairwoman of the Public Art Committee.
At a recent meeting of regional arts councils, a presenter from Charlotte used Salisbury as an example of a city tying together public art and historic preservation, Perry said.
“It was amazing and made us very proud,” she said.
Salisbury proves that modern art and historic preservation can co-exist, Perry said.
“You can have both,” she said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.
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