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Rodin and Raleigh Link for Great Exhibit

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RALEIGH — "Think" about one of the most famous sculptures in the world. Then "think" about it on display here in Raleigh.

"The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin was installed at the North Carolina Museum of Art Monday.

Art enthusiasts think it is pretty exciting.

"It's a little bit like being in church because it's so inspiring," said Mary Krauss.

"It's just so beautiful and looks so magnificent," Toni Sutphin said. "It's hard to believe it's here in Raleigh."

It is not the only Rodin sculpture here in Raleigh. "The Three Shades" has also arrived.

They are just the first two pieces of more than 120 works of art that will be arrive in Raleigh over the next several weeks. By the time it is complete, it will be the most comprehensive Rodin exhibit in the United States in 20 years.

"Many museums have had Rodin exhibitions, but when we decided to do it, we decided to do it bigger than all the others," said museum Director Larry Wheeler.

And for good reason. Raleigh is hoping to strengthen its cultural foundation, not only with the Rodin exhibit, but with next month's opening of the newMuseum of Natural Sciences.

More attractions for people living in the area, for tourists who want to visit, and for companies who may want to bring employees to Raleigh to live.

"Especially the new corporate culture with the high-tech firms. They work long hours. They want to get off work, take a break, go have fun, maybe come back to work. It's very, very significant," according to Kim Stone of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

And for the state's capital city, many think it is time.

Raleigh is a big city. Many feel it now deserves big arts opportunities.

The Rodin exhibit starts Sunday, April 16 at the North Carolina Museum of Art on Blue Ridge Road. It runs through August 13.