A celebration of one of the state’s most famous self-taught artists takes place in Wilson Thursday, Nov. 2 with the official dedication of a park featuring his unique structures.
Vollis Simpson is the creator of large kinetic structures known as “whirligigs” that he crafted from scrap metal. Simpson served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. When he returned to the states, he founded a house-moving operation, designing and building much of the equipment used to move houses. He used the same ingenuity in his “whirligigs”, which were designated the official folk art of North Carolina by the General Assembly in 2013. The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum features 30 large-scale structures. A press release from the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources says the 2-acre park has already spurred $25 million in private investment in Wilson’s downtown area.
The park is located at 301 Goldsboro Street South. Dedication event begins at 4:00 pm. A free public event runs from 4-10 pm with music, food trucks and a special lighting of the whirligigs as dusk falls.