Wilson, North Carolina’s story has captivated the imagination of the country. Farm machinery repairman, Vollis Simpson, began making gigantic kinetic sculptures at his family farm in Wilson County when he was nearing retirement age. He kept making his “whirligigs”–seven days a week–until about six months before he dies at the age of 94 in May of 2013. By that time he was famous. The story of Wilson’s campaign to use the renowned whirligigs to recharge its downtown has catapulted the community into the national spotlight. Grants from ArtPlace America, the Kresge Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts have helped the project come close to its goal of opening the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and Museum.

Original Whirligigs on Vollis’ Farm