The Transylvania Times -

'Ballerina' Dances Into Town – Brevard, NC


Last updated 8/19/2020 at 3:13pm

A new sculpture installation at the Railroad Avenue Depot Park hopes to bring some modernity to the downtown Brevard art scene.

On Tuesday, members of the community gathered to watch the 13-foot-tall sculpture titled "Ballerina Angelina" become the 25th statue installed around the city as part of the Brevard Sculpture Project.

Ann DerGara, owner of Red Wolf Gallery, started the Brevard Sculpture Project in 2003 as a way to stimulate the economy by bringing in tourists to appreciate the art culture of the area.

The project quickly grew, eventually spawning the many animal sculptures seen around downtown, as well as statues of musical instruments located on Broad Street.

But this new piece is something different, and DerGara said it brings a new element to the project.

"It's our first modern sculpture, which I'm excited about," she said. "It's whimsical. It makes you laugh, makes you smile. People of all ages will love it. Whereas the other sculptures are the wildlife of North Carolina and the musical instruments meant to represent the three kinds of music that are here in Brevard – jazz, classical and bluegrass – this one is really special."

Asheville-based artist Stefan Bonitz, who was on-hand to deliver and install the piece on Tuesday, created the statue.

Bonitz has sculpted metal since 1995 and operates his business, "Steebo Sculptures," using almost entirely found or recycled objects in his work.

DerGara said it was extra special to have Bonitz deliver and install the piece himself.

"I think it was fascinating seeing it come off the truck. This was the first time we had a lot of recording of the installation, because it's complex. (Bonitz) still has work to do this afternoon, securing the sculpture," she said.

The new statue was a gift to the city from Robert Plafsky.

DerGara said the Depot was chosen as the location for installation largely due to the ongoing landscaping work being done by the Transylvania Garden Club, of which many members were in attendance on Tuesday.

"I knew that the Depot had been restored and that the Transylvania Garden Club was doing a very educational and interesting natural plant garden here. The Depot is going to be used for events, and I thought it would entertain people," she said.

Ann DerGara and Stefan Bonitz sit in front of Bonitz's creation. (Times photo by Jeremiah Reed)

"Ballerina Angelina" is certainly different from any other installation in town, which DerGara said makes it an interesting conversation piece among art lovers.

"Art is a personal opinion. Everybody likes something different, and that's fun for me to be in the gallery and hear what different people like," DerGara said, comparing the new piece to the "Picasso Chicago" sculpture that was installed in 1967 and initially received mixed reviews from the citizenry.

Hopefully, DerGara said, the new sculpture can serve as a catalyst to introduce more modern art pieces into downtown.

"This is the 25th statue we've installed," she said. "I'm getting old, so I hope somebody can carry on this project beyond me. I think we need more modern statues and I think the city is ready for it. This is kind of a first step. I think this is exceptional. We're very happy and we're very proud of it."


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