"Dovecote," a metal sculpture by renowned artist Chuck Ginnever, now displayed at the Spruce Street entrance to the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.
By Carroll Leggett
Works by two major 20th century sculptors have been installed at the Spruce Street entrance to the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. “These are described in the art world as ‘important pieces,’” said Jim Sparrow, President and CEO of the Arts Council, “and the sites selected by The Arts Council in collaboration with the City of Winston-Salem could hardly be better.”
The celebration of the installation of the works by Chuck Ginnever and Beverly Pepper will be held at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 19. Arts Council and City of Winston-Salem officials will participate. The public is invited.
The naturally weathered steel sculpture, titled “Dovecote,” by abstract modernist Chuck Ginnever was a gift to the city by the late Betsy Babcock. Created in the early 1970s, it was displayed for a time in Winston Square Park. In its new, permanent location, it sits upon a concrete pad with stainless steel moorings. Ginnever’s work is found in major museums in the United States and throughout the world. Dovecote is composed of irregular rectangles and lends itself to viewing from many perspectives. As sited, the viewer is free to move around it for visual exploration.
“We see the installation of Dovecote,” said Sparrow, “as the beginning of a strategic partnership between The Arts Council, the greater arts community and the City of Winston-Salem to bring people and art together in public spaces -- not only in conscious settings designed to provoke thought and inspire but in ways that quietly but decidedly enhance esthetics and the quality of everyday life in the city.”
Mayor Allen Joines pointed to the city’s moniker, saying, “We are a City of Arts and Innovation and we want those words to be more than just a slogan on a ‘Welcome to Winston-Salem’ sign. Public art throughout the city is one way of making ‘City of the Arts’ a meaningful statement about ourselves. I see the installation of these sculptures as giant steps forward. Works by Ginnever and Pepper are found in the world’s greatest art museums, including the Metropolitan,
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. Now through the generosity of Charlotte and Phil Hanes and Betsy Babcock, we have works by these artists here in downtown Winston-Salem for all to enjoy. Certainly this is a reason for celebration,” Joines said.
The Beverly Pepper sculpture was a gift to The Arts Council by Charlotte Hanes and the late Philip Hanes. Pepper, now 92, is renowned for her metal sculptures and is an art world icon who splits her time between New York and Italy. Her site-specific public art pieces are enjoyed by visitors to Central Park, on Park Avenue, in Paris and Florence and in other venues throughout the US and the world. The delicate cast iron work by Pepper that is now installed at The Milton Rhodes Center emerges from the ground as a cylindrical pedestal from which two thin, vertical prongs rise. The work was cast more than three decades ago and titled “Pythias Presence.” It is one of eight similar sculptures in Pepper's Moline Marker Series.
“Now the task before us is to look for additional opportunities for the creation of public art for our residents and visitors to embrace and enjoy. What we do about public art going forward will speak volumes about us, and it is great to be able to celebrate this collaborative effort with the city and contemplate future projects that involve the city, our residents and our diverse communities,” said Sparrow.
Winston-Salem’s robust arts community accounts in large part for the recognition it continues to receive as a great place to live. The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the first locally established arts council in the United States, enriches the lives of area residents every day. It raises funds and advocates for the arts, sponsors events in conjunction with other arts organizations, promotes and funds arts education, creates cultural opportunities, develops social capital and aids economic development. In 2013, The Arts Council made Organizational Support Grants to 19 Funded Partners totaling $1,675,000 and other grants brought the total awarded to $1,905,000.