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This project was successfully funded on March 20, 2011

A Public Sculpture for the Town Square of Burnsville, NC

by Robert Levin


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I have been invited to create a mixed media sculpture to be placed on or near the Town Square in Burnsville, NC. The sculpture will be part of the Toe Valley Trail Project, a program that brings public art by local artists to one of the most attractive “built” environments in our state.  This is a wonderful opportunity for me to create a monumental piece that will expand on my previous mixed media work. However, there is no funding available from the Toe Valley Trail, the Town or the County. I am therefore seeking funding of $6000 to do the following: collect stone for the sculpture; hire a stone mason/woodworker; pay an assistant; document the process and the final piece; and cover the costs of installation and some of my own time on the project.

The sculpture will be made of local locust wood and native stone and will stand 7 - 10 feet tall. The form is based on an Arch or Bridge. I have made many mixed-media pieces in the past using the theme of a "Bridge", which I think of as a metaphor for the process of making art.  Art serves as a bridge between the invisible and visible, the bridge between an idea and its final form. The process of bridging that gap is the work we do with our hands and our hearts.  It also symbolizes the transformation that takes place within the person who is making the work... we always end up in a different place than where we began. The intent of this piece is to provide a sense of transition while combining internal tension with balance, gesture, and a sense of uplift. 

It is important to me that the materials for this project will come from right here in our area, reflecting the ruggedness of these mountains.  I plan to use some wood that I've been storing for several years – it is lovely figured locust wood, and I've been waiting for just the right project to use it on.  The stone will be large river rocks, which we have in abundance.  Part of the challenge will be to find just the right ones!  For me, these materials carry their own resonance, and “speak for themselves”.  Put together into one piece, they should be ambiguous and evocative at the same time.

This project will enable me to create larger scale outdoor work for the first time, sort of a “step up” from what I've done in the past. Going out-of-doors, beyond the confines of the gallery environment, enables one to see the work through different seasons, times of day, and weather... in short: in a different atmosphere. The way in which it integrates with the environment, how the scale works in an outdoor setting--these issues are of great interest to me. 

Burnsville, and the surrounding area of Yancey County, have become a destination for visitors who appreciate the arts.  This is a wonderful opportunity to share my work with a larger audience.   I am hoping this may lead to other opportunities for outdoor work.

Thank you for considering this project, and for any support you may be able to give.

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