Rockwater park


Windmore Foundation for the Arts and the Culpeper Arts & Culture Center are hoping to rock Culpeper with some new public art.

The two art organizations unveiled a plan to commission a granite sculpture at Rockwater Park in Culpeper, including a $15,000 matching grant from Windmore. The sculpture is estimated to cost $30,000. Windmore will match the first $15,000 donated to reach the total. 

Elizabeth Hutchins, representing the Culpeper Arts & Culture Center, said the organization reached out to Windmore almost two years ago about partnering together to help place public art at Culpeper’s newest park. She said they reached out to several local sculptors before landing on Gary Colson, a Liberty High School art teacher who lives in Culpeper.

Colson has created local sculptures before, creating the Healing Hands sculpture at Novant Health UVA Health Systems Culpeper Medical Center. He also has done regional work, including the  OBX Totem in Kitty Hawk, N.C. and an installation at the Scarborough Faire shopping center in Duck, N.C.

“I’d like to thank Windmore for their support and cooperation,” Hutchins said. “We’re very grateful for the help and partnership.”

The sculpture will be 10 feet tall with a base of about 6 feet. 

Fran Cecere, President of Windmore, said it made sense to partner together with the ACC to provide the sculpture for the town. 

“I just really feel that this is really important, that we are two arts agencies working toward the same project,” she said. “I think it will be a lot of fun. We will be coming up with ways of making the money.”

Culpeper Town Councilman Keith Price, also on the ACC board, said this was a perfect example of a public private partnership.

“We’re very excited about this,” Price said. ““The recent town policy is that the town will pay up to $2,000 in cost to prepare the site, which is what they’ll do for this. This requires a pretty hefty footer, so the town will do that up to the cost of $2,000. They may do other things that don’t require direct financial compensation. Town staff has been very supportive and willing to help us put this forward in the best possible light.”

The concept Colson has created is a three-piece granite sculpture that embodies the two main characteristics of the park, rock and water. The sculpture is planned to have a water feature, as long as it remains feasible. Water and electricity will have to be run to the sculpture, which will sit at the intersection of trails at the park and be visible from the parking lot. 

Price said that it will 12-18 months for Colson to create the sculpture, using granite donated from a local quarry. The plan is to have it installed in late 202 or early 2021. The park plans to open its splash park and climbing rock later this summer. 

Hutchins said the fundraising is still being discussed as both the ACC and Windmore will contact donors. 

“That’s all in the beginning stages, there’s nothing concrete,” Hutchins said. “I think generally, the public in Culpeper is very supportive of public art. We don’t have that much public art in Culpeper, that’s something we’re all very much interested in seeing happen.”

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