Vollis Simpson's Whirligigs
Vollis Simpson was an incredibly prolific sculptor. He passed away on May 31, 2013 at the age of 94. These photos were taken in 2007 from the road in front of Mr. Simpson's land. I never met Mr. Simpson but he is universally praised as being friendly and interesting to talk to, by everyone I know who stopped to chat with him. Mr. Simpson focused on building moving sculptures. It's impossible to convey the presence these structures have on a windy day with pictures. Almost all of them spin and make noise. Many of them rotate on multiple axes. They are also large and because they're constructed with steel, they are heavy. Approaching this cacophony of spinning steel in the middle of the tranquil country side was a unique experience. Vollis Simpson and his whirligigs were well known in the state of North Carolina and he was gaining national recognition later in life. However, because of the remoteness of his land, there were never many visitors on any given day and there was nothing specific set up to accommodate visitors.
Since Vollis Simpson passed away, efforts to preserve his work are focused on building a memorial sculpture park in Wilson North Carolina. Pieces are being moved from his land and restored in Wilson for display in the as yet unopened park. There are still a few whirligigs on his land but my understanding is most will be taken down and moved eventually.
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