By David Rogers. August 10, 2019. BLOWING ROCK, NC — It was a beautiful evening around the banks of Lake Chetola Friday evening, made “stunning” and even inspiring with the placement of roughly 60 works of art around the perimeter. It was Blowing Rock’s first annual “Sculpture Walk” and, judging by the enthusiastic public response, it won’t be the last.
Primary organizer Brenda Councill told the estimated three dozen people participating in the official ribbon cutting on Friday that roughly 1,500 visitors took part in the Sculpture Walk just on Friday afternoon — “And we didn’t officially open until 1:00 pm,” she reported at 6:30 pm.
To make the event a reality, Councill first had to get Kent and Greg Tarbutton, owners of Chetola Mountain Resort, on board to host the one-of-a-kind weekend. Kent Tarbutton explained to Blowing Rock News later that they already had booked a wedding for the weekend, so they had to make sure it would not prove disruptive to the bride and groom.
“They embraced the idea,” smiled Tarbutton, “and a little while ago they were over there by that big red and silver heart sculpture taking pictures!”
Friday’s evening session featured discussions led by renowned artists Bob Timberlake and Joe Miller, both well known internationally but with local connections.
“They can talk about whatever you want,” Tarbutton said in introducing Timberlake and Miller to the gathering, “whether it be about sculpture, other forms of art, or maybe the flights of bourbon as you walk around the lake perimeter.”
in explaining how the Sculpture Walk event evolved, Councill acknowledged the role of Watauga Arts Council’s Cherry Johnson in connecting the organizers with the Grassroots Funds of the North Carolina Arts Council, and also expressed appreciation for several private donations.
From recycled industrial materials to marble, ceramic and fiber based materials, each of the 60+ sculptures on display inspired discussion. Greg Tarbutton summed up the experience in noting to Blowing Rock News, “People all look at the same piece of art and see different things and appreciate different things. Some see a bull, while others see a giant mouse. I look over there and I see a time machine that maybe comes out of a Harry Potter movie. Over there, maybe that is a windmill. Especially when you involve kids, it is fun to hear what they see compared to what you see in the same thing. Art inspires creative thinking in all of us.”
All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News