Artist donates sculpture so it can stay in Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 7, 2012

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — An artist who fell in love with Salisbury has donated his piece from last year’s Salisbury Sculpture Show to the city and residents.
Jozef Vercauteren, 87, a contemporary metal sculptor from Myrtle Beach, S.C., has given “Circles” to the city. The $3,300 sculpture will remain in the niche next to Wells Fargo on South Main Street.
“I am truly grateful for the recognition, appreciation and friendship I have received from you, your staff, volunteers and the city,” Vercauteren wrote to City Planner Lynn Raker, who helps organize the show. “Of all the shows I have been involved in, Salisbury is truly first class and my favorite.”
Raker called Vercauteren one of the most beloved sculptors in the show’s four-year history. His pieces were chosen for exhibition in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Born in 1925 in Antwerp, Belgium, Vercauteren immigrated to the United States in 1952 and became a citizen in 1957.
Educated as a mechanical and electrical engineer, he attended art school in Belgium and later in New York City.
For 65 years, he has created with plastics and metal of all types, cutting, welding and brazing. His ability to design and construct machinery and equipment has contributed to his art.
His work has been exhibited in many states and is in private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
Like most artists chosen to exhibit in the sculpture show, Vercauteren had never been to Salisbury prior to his selection, Raker said.
Vercauteren’s health has declined in recent years, and he was unable to attend this year’s artist reception. Edward and Susan Norvell, Sculpture Show benefactors, have developed a close relationship with Vercauteren and his wife, Laverne.
Vercauteren also gave away three smaller sculptures that have been displayed in Salisbury, one each to Raker, the Norvells and the city’s Public Art Committee, which sponsors the show.
The 17-piece 2012 Sculpture Show was installed two weeks ago. Paid for with private donations and grants, the show features 15 pieces downtown and two at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
A full-color walking tour brochure will be available soon, and best in show awards will be announced later in the exhibit year.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.