Vollis simpson january 17, 1919 may 31, 20 lucama vollis simpson, 94, of lucama passed away friday. If he goes to the junkyard and finds 25 fans, he comes home and makes 25 whirligigs, said leonard simpson, a 54yearold television producer in greensboro, n. The vollis simpson whirligig park was recently featured in cary magazine. Designed by awardwinning landscape architecture firm surface678, the twoacre park features 31 of vollis simpson s whirligigsincluding some of the largest in his life s work. Vollis simpson s whirligigs were named north carolina s state folk art in the same piece of legislation that also designated the state fossil, frog, salamander, marsupial, and art medium. Simpson, who lived nearly his entire life in wilson county, had an occasionally fractious relationship with the public. You really need to be outdoors and looking up to see the art of vollis simpson. Fortunately a lot of people in wilson and all over the world love vollis simpsons whirligigs. Want to check in on the vollis simpson whirligig park. It s a wonderful honor for wilson s whirligig park. From the american visionary art museum in baltimore to the windows of bergdorf goodman in manhattan, folk artist vollis simpson s joyful whirligig and windmill pieces have captivated the imagination of artists and the public alike. Each piece reflects simpson s experiences, from his life in rural north carolina to his service in the united states army air corps during world war ii. Several places with in walking distance to grab a bite of lunch.
Vollis simpson whirligig park, wilson, north carolina. Vollis simpson whirligig park spaces spaces archives. The park had its grand opening on november 2, 2017. Folk art, whirligigs created by vollis simpson ncpedia. Lucarna, north carolina, born 1919, whirligig with cow, 2005, signed on grass vollis simpson, recycled metal with enamel paint, 28 in. An overcast afternoon at the vollis simpson whirligig park in downtown wilson, nc.
North carolina state folk art, whirligigs, from netstate. The park was simply the creation of vollis simpson who referred to his creation as whirligigs. Earlier this year, vollis simpson whirligig park was also named the winner of the apa north carolina chapter. Once home to a thriving tobacco industry, wilson is a small city in rural north carolina that recently found itself home to something altogether different.
Vollis simpson 1919 may 31, 20 was an american outsider folk artist known for large kinetic sculptures called whirligigs, which simpson made from salvaged metal. But, at 94, simpson is still actively advising as to the repair and conservation. Vollis simpson, a 91yearold in north carolina, is the creator of some of. The works incorporate complex movement and sound as a integral part of the more than 30 works designed and constructed on simpsons property. Michael graff is the writeratlarge for our state magazine. Whirligig maker vollis simpson 191920 was a folk art institution in north. Vollis simpson repaired farm machinery for a living. The vollis simpson whirligig park was created in wilson to document, conserve, and display the large sculptures from simpsons land in lucama. There are currently 16 whirligigs up in the air at the vollis simpson whirligig park, located at 301 goldsboro street s in historic downtown wilson. Vollis simpson at his lucama workshop, original site of the whirligigs, during our visit in 2005.
He has been on 60 minutes, pbs and lots of art or outsider art publications. You can also get directions to vollis simpson s place in lucama, where three giant whirligigs will remain. Lives are changed by what we read or discover in books. Vollis simpson whirligig parkvollis simpson 1919 20. Vollis simpson, who made metal scraps into magnificent things that twirled and jangled and clattered when he set them out on his land, and who did so long before anyone started calling them whirligigs or him an artist, died on friday at his home in lucama, n. History of whirligigs discover discover the city of. Vollis simpson whirligig park recognized as peoples. Vollis simpson whirligig park lucama all you need to. Simpson is also the only sculptor of such works who generates both the ideas and. Vollis simpson was a local man who lived in wilson. That was thanks in no small part to north carolina s vollis simpson, although his whirligigs were anything but humble. Sometime in may 1996, vollis simpson, the champion of whirligigs and windmills, will travel to atlanta, ga. Simpsons work has been featured in books and magazines and once graced the windows of bergdorf goodman in.
Featured in untold magazines, newspapers and books, these giant whirligigs. Vollis simpson s whirligigs are now in museums and galleries around the country, and his windmill farm is listed as one of nc s stops in roadside america. Whether you are going over the river and through the woods, to grandmother s house, or a friend s house, or to see other family, stop by the vollis simpson whirligig park on the way to your thanksgiving place. Arts council, saidof simpson and his work, he was driven to make these from someplace deep within. It s quirky, it s fun, and it s quintessentially rural north carolina. People from across the world visited simpson at his shop, and he would happily sit and. Simpson was a retired metalworker who found he had too much time on his hands and metal in his yard, so he decided to create whirligigs.
Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the dates you. Vollis simpson patterns metal strips, reflector, signs, spokes, whirligig, and wilson bring new life to commercial spaces by using recurring details in simpson s work more. Made by one of its residents, wwii veteran vollis simpson, these whirligigs have become internationally celebrated examples of vernacular art, many of which. Some of simpsons whirligigs stand as high as 50 feet and are constructed from recycled hvac parts including motor fans and cotton spindles.
In the small town of wilson, north carolina, the vollis simpson whirligig park and museum is attracting visitors from near and far. Very few of the 30some whirligigs are now on the simpson property. Vollis simpson whirligig park in historic downtown wilson. The unique windmill farm is a remarkable collection of elaborate whirligigs produced by local outsider folk artist vollis simpson. The breezes are blowing today, and it has stopped raining, so it s. Very interesting, very relaxing, great place for your kids to run around and have fun. Although the whirligigs constructed by vollis simpson 191920 were deemed north carolinas official folk art a few years ago, they are none of the above. It is an enjoyable read, and we are honored to have been selected for the article. Designed by folk artist vollis simpson, the whirligigs incorporate mirrors, bicycles, farm equipment, and more.
One creative and visionary move was the construction of a park right on the edge of the main street featuring the world s premier collection of whirligigs. The vollis simpson whirligig park project is a partnership of wilson downtown properties, inc. Many of his larger pieces are on display at the vollis simpson whirligig park. After his retirement he took old machine parts and turned them into whirligigs. Located in the center of downtown, the incredible art installations tower above visitors. Simpson was a small town artist who made a big impact.
Vollis simpson, a selftaught north carolina artist famed for his whimsical, windpowered whirligigs, has died. The humble whirligig, often nothing more than a fancy pinwheel or a wooden bird with wings that spin in a breeze, became north carolina s official folk art in 20. Wilson s vollis simpson whirligig park, funded in part by the national endowment for the arts, hosts concerts, festivals and events, in addition to its 30 whirligigs. Vollis simpson whirligig park lucama 2020 all you need. Vollis simpson, junkyard poet of whirligigs the new york. The acclaim vollis simpsons whirligigs garnered made them a logical fit for wilson as city officials looked for ways to celebrate the community with an annual festival. His most recent stories were it takes an orchestra and maggie valley december 2012.
Vollis simpsons whirligigs are moving and not just in the wind. Vollis simpson was born on january 17, 1919 in lucama, north carolina, usa as vollis michael simpson. Simpson acted as a consultant for the renovation of the whirligigs for display. From whirligig park in wilson, drive southeast on goldsboro st. My wife and i decided to take a side trip to see the vollis simpson whirligig park in wilson, nc sounded interesting. A total of 31 whirligigs were restored and added to the 2acre park upon its. He sold them to be refurbished and placed in vollis simpson whirligig park, which is being built in the nearby town of wilson. North carolinas vollis simpson whirligig park and museum the. Designed by awardwinning landscape architecture firm surface678, the twoacre park features 31 of vollis simpson s whirligigs including some of the largest in his life s work. Learn more about the artist at the museum, then grab a drink across the street. Whirligig park has proven a source of economic revitalization for historic downtown wilson, as well as a gathering place for residents and tourists alike to enjoy education, entertainment, and the legacy of wilson s own vollis simpson. Voters in the 2019 great places in america contest picked the vollis simpson whirligig park as their favorite. Vollis visionaries artist statement my abstract series, vollis, inspired by vollis simpson s whirligigs, was born the day i walked into the whirligig restoration warehouse in wilson, where i saw closeup the pieces and parts of whirligigs in various stages of restoration. View all restaurants near vollis simpson whirligig park on tripadvisor.
The wilson whirligig festival is an annual arts and crafts festival held the first full weekend of november in wilson, n. You can also get directions to vollis simpsons place in lucama, where three giant whirligigs will remain. They were not created in memorial, but as public art for drivers to enjoy. One of simpsons creations stands in front of the american visionary art museum in. Vollis simpson whirligig park wilson 2020 all you need to know. Vollis simpson s partners retired from the machine shop, and he cut back on. The vollis simpson whirligig park is scheduled to open in november in wilson, about 10 miles from his home. Vollis simpsons whirligig park, wilson roadtrippers. Roadside america s entry for vollis simpsons whirligigs in lucama, north carolina. Vollis simpson, junkyard poet of whirligigs the new york times.
Vollis simpson whirligig park wilson 2020 all you need. Vollis simpson has constructed a whirligig farm on his land in lucama, north carolina, which has been profiled by pbs, the subject of an online photographic essay at the minnesota museum of science, and an article in american profile. Many of his larger pieces are on display at the vollis simpson whirligig park in wilson, north carolina, about 10 miles from lucama. Vollis simpson whirligig park learn more about vollis simpson and the project to restore his whirligigs at.291 241 1167 133 598 1120 77 741 253 134 823 1453 510 1082 578 119 139 1127 686 736 1045 1503 342 1190 1068 1473 1186 544 967 671 912 456 326 1259 392 1322 786 708 17 901 1264 90 1247 820