Glow Exhibits Bolt & Bonsai Tree Light Up Downtown Cary

Cary, NC — Following an animated mural wall and inflatable botanicals, the two newest art pieces to pop-up on Academy Street feature a bolt of lightning and a bonsai tree.

Brought to downtown by Academy Street Artwork Projects, all GLOW exhibits are designed to brighten up the evening sky and provide a unique, outdoor art-viewing experience.

To get to know these latest installments a bit better, here are a few words from each of the featured artists.

Bolt by Patrick FitzGerald

Bolt is a neon light sculpture installed on the grounds of the Cary Arts Center and created by artist Patrick FitzGerald. Artistically known for his drawings, paintings, collages, and digital works, FitzGerald is also an instructor at the NCSU College of Design.

In describing the thought process behind his new creation, Bolt, FitzGerald narrows down this pandemic-inspired piece to three key parts.

Vigilance, Tragedy and Presence

“Bolt is a reminder that we are not out of the pandemic yet, and the sculpture is a sort of artistic public service announcement for the community to remain safe and careful, and vigilant.

Like the ancient Greeks, we do not understand the tragedy of why, when and where this virus strikes, it is like a lightning bolt from the sky.

Finally, the virus itself is visualized, making this microscopic phenomenon larger than life. In this way, people might be reminded that although we cannot see COVID, it is still a powerful and dangerous presence in our community,” said FitzGerald.

Bonsai Tree by Erik Beerbower

The Bonsai Tree has been on Academy Street since mid-February and is known for its shining appearance made from hammered steel sheets over rebar armature. A secondary impression of the tree is a striking, small red bird on one of its branches made from forks, spoons and butter knives.

The artist behind the piece, Erik Beerbower, is a sculptor and designer who strives to create artworks that are both imaginitive and approachable.

On his new piece, Beerbower said, “The idea for the Bonsai Tree sculpture was inspired by the simplicity of Japanese design. I have always been drawn to Zen gardens, the Buddhist monks that created them in ancient Japan had a great love and appreciation for their surroundings.

The tree is a symbol of life, the white gravel represents the ocean, the bird is nature, and the stones reflect the mountains and islands that surrendered them. For me, this sculpture symbolizes mindfulness, remembering to appreciate my surroundings and being thankful for all that I have around me.

Zen has a balance between the yin and the yang, this sculpture has a balance as well; day and night. During the day it is tranquil and meditative, at night it when the lights bounce off the metal it becomes ethereal.”


Story from staff reports. Photos by Ashley Kairis, Heather Leah and the Town of Cary.

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