Arts Communities

Artists Making News: Brevard Sculpture Project

By Emma Castleberry

Brevard’s status as an arts community continues to grow with the addition of three new sculptures on the Brevard College campus. The Brevard Sculpture Project began in 2002, when several sculpture artists joined together to help boost the economy after two of Brevard’s biggest employers, DuPont and the local paper mill, closed their doors. One of the group’s leaders is Ann DerGara, owner of Brevard’s Red Wolf Gallery. “I thought if we could make the arts grow in Brevard, it would help our economy,” she says. When she opened Red Wolf Gallery in 2000, DerGara commissioned two artists working in forge to create a life-sized red wolf to go in front of the gallery. Unfortunately, right after the sculpture was unveiled, the city denied the gallery’s permit for its placement. “But local citizens went up in arms because they loved it and did not want it taken away,” says DerGara. “So, our group of artists went back to the city and said we would like to do more. We knew our city council was behind this and we gave plenty of information about the economic reasons for doing this, and they approved the project.”

Knowing that visitors and residents alike appreciate the wildlife in Brevard, the artists started with a series of sculptures of indigenous animals of North Carolina. This includes the gallery’s red wolf sculpture, as well as sculptures around town featuring an elk, a bobcat, a fox, ravens, white squirrels, chipmunks, wild turkey, trout, a Great Blue Heron, a black bear, Monarch butterflies, raccoons, a cougar, deer, otters, a Golden Eagle and five wild horses. When asked to honor the valley’s natural farming industry, the artists created a sculpture of three cows. Contributing artists for these sculptures included DerGara, Aaron Alderman, Christine Kosiba, Richard Merrill, Chris Worley, Steve Fox, Lincoln Stone, Kathryn Wilson and Kyle Lusk.

The sculptures were generally sponsored by individuals, and placement was decided by the city. “We tried to raise money for a foundry so that tourists could watch bronze casting of the sculptures, but were unable to do that,” says DerGara. So, the money raised for the foundry has been used to support the creation of three new sculptures honoring Brevard’s musical identity. “Brevard is already known for music because of the Brevard Music Center and Brevard College, so we wanted to do something to compliment this,” says DerGara. Artist Kyle Lusk created a banjo to represent Brevard’s bluegrass roots, a saxophone to represent the jazz influence and a violin to represent the classical influence. “In a town of 7,000 people, we have nine art galleries, six music clubs and venues plus the incredible Brevard Music Center and the Transylvania Community Arts Center,” says DerGara. “Plus, just south from Brevard is the Arts and Crafts Corridor on Highway 276 South. Brevard is a rich, vibrant place to live and visit.”

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