Discover Wilson, NC
Wilson, North Carolina is known for having some of the best barbecue on the East Coast and the largest antique district on the Eastern Seaboard with more than 350,000 square feet of antiques. A town of historic charm, grace and pride and a huge arts community, Wilson has 250 active artists, a very active Arts Center and a Cultural Center that features more than 16 performances annually.
In the spring each year Wilson celebrates its Theatre of the American South which spotlights fine Southern plays. This annual spring festival features two plays in repertory, as well as culinary demonstrations, a speaker series, a dinner theater production, and musical performances showcasing the richness of the Southern way of life.
One local performer who has great attention is Vollis Simpson. A folk artist, Simpson started making and erecting his whimsical, moveable art structures in the early 1980s. The first of his moveable art pieces were placed on his farm just off Wiggins Mill Road in Lucama, NC. He has been featured in numerous magazines, books, newspapers and publications from all over the world. In 1997 the Wilson Visitors Bureau started promoting this attraction as the “Whirligigs”. His work has been filmed for segments on UNC Public TV, the Farmers Almanac and others. There is even a restaurant in Baltimore that featured a “Whirligig” pie in his honor.
Vollis’s Whirligigs can been seen throughout the south. There are four sculptures permanently erected in Atlanta at the intersection of Courtland Avenue & McGill Street. These sculptures were used at the 1996 Olympic Games. The North Carolina Museum of Art has a 50 foot sculpture, and in downtown Raleigh two blocks from the Exploris are several sculptures.
His work can be seen at the Inner Harbor at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. The Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, NC has several “Whirligigs” on their property and has a shop called “Whirligigs” Kids. There is a “Whirligig” at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly, NC, and at the Wilson Rose Garden.
Wilson is also known as the “City of Beautiful Trees.” Visitors can stroll tree-lined streets of historic districts in downtown Wilson and purchase works by local artists at the Wilson Arts Center, Barton College Art Museum or The North Star Gallery and enjoy a theatrical performance at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center.
Excitement and discovery awaits both children and adults at the Imagination Station Science Museum where guests can race a cheetah, play a harp with invisible strings, or get eye-to-eye with a boa constrictor.
added: December 22, 2008
updated: December 22, 2008