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Planned Wilson park to feature whirligigs

Posted July 13, 2011

The colorful whirligig creations of Vollis Simpson have inspired a proposed park in Wilson.

— The National Endowment of the Arts has awarded Wilson a $250,000 grant to help develop a downtown park dedicated to the whimsical whirligigs created by local artist Vollis Simpson.

"I'm so excited I can hardly stand behind this podium," Mayor Bruce Rose said Wednesday in announcing the grant and the plans for the park.

Rose and other local officials said the park – a 2-acre lot bordered by Goldsboro, Douglas and South streets – will boost local tourism and revitalize downtown Wilson, including an emerging arts district.

"I think it means a whole new beginning for downtown," said Linda Dew, manager of Wilson Hardware.

Wilson will be the only town in the U.S. with a whirligig park, officials said.

"People are going to be detouring here off of (Interstate) 95," said Mary Regan, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council.

Simpson, 92, has built his elaborate spinning works of art for years. His creations have been features in museum exhibits from Baltimore to Atlanta, and four of his whirligigs are on permanent display in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

Vollis Simpson Planned Wilson park to feature whirligigs

"I didn't ever think this would ever happen," Simpson said of the Wilson whirligig park.

Money from other grants already is being used to repair and restore some of the whirligigs, which are slowing down with rust and age.

No local tax dollars will be used to develop the park, which Rose said should be open sometime in 2013.

"People from all over the country are going to show up here," he said. "People are going to come to downtown Wilson to see this park."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • mmtlash Jul 14, 2011

    this ranks up there with the world's largest ball of twine as far as vacation destinations go....I will say Mr. Simpson (age 92 according to the article) has spent years making these things so no disrespect to him personally....this is just one of those stories that make you go hmmmmmm.....

  • mfarmer1 Jul 14, 2011

    If I Had The $250,000 I Could Go To The Recycle Center And Buy Some Scrap Metal. Then Just Dump It On There Lawn, Sounds Like The Same Thing.

    I Would Have $249,000 Left Over.

  • gunny462 Jul 14, 2011

    I think his work should be appreciated but right now? no!

  • musicmaker101 Jul 14, 2011

    I think it is absolutely disgraceful that one single taxpayer dollar was spent on this trash! With the worst economy since the depression the taxpayers shouldn't be paying for any artwork, much less distinctly bad artwork. If the city officials had one shred of common sense they would scrap the plans for this scrap metal.

  • rdkeller Jul 14, 2011

    "Acid Park"? Moving? To downtown?

    Tell me it an't so.

  • wp Jul 14, 2011

    It's too bad they are moving all those whirligigs from "Acid Park" to downtown Wilson. Seeing them when they get down will not be the same. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. If they wanted to refurbish them, fine, but they should put them back to their original location. Driving down those dark country roads and coming up on "Acid Park" has always been a cool thing. Now they are going to be downtown? Whatever. No point in riding out to see them now.

  • horrorfan101 Jul 14, 2011

    People are without jobs, some can't pay their bills, folks are losing their houses, our country is in debt up to it's keester, but yet we can urinate away money on junk like this. I have a better idea...why don't the state take this metal scrap and send it to the scrapyard where it will produce jobs...problem solved.

  • gallbury Jul 14, 2011

    What a crock; welded metal colored like crayons. This is not art; it's junk. Way to go "Fred Sanford!"

  • SnakeLady Jul 13, 2011

    Acid Park is becoming legitimate? Impressive! We went to see it one night years ago. The reflectors made beautiful, but the movement in the dark made it spooky! $250K does seem a bit much, but if the govt is going to waste the money anyway, I'd MUCH rather see it go towards art than to war.

  • dae66 Jul 13, 2011

    I think it is wonderful.. God bless you, Vollis! Your art will be seen and enjoyed for many more years.