This year’s visitor season marks a milestone for SHR – its second art installation in the gardens! Inspired by the maps used by the National Parks Service along the Blue Ridge Parkway to help park goers identify mountain peaks along the horizon, SHR installed a bronze bas relief map naming the mountains seen from the precipice of the View Site. Surrounded by rhododendron and mountain myrtle, the bronze sculpture invites visitors to traverse the landscape down to the lower terraces to capture of glimpse of the mountains along the horizon.
In honor of Betty and Robert Balentine’s vision and commitment to conservation, the sculpture was donated to Southern Highlands Reserve by Vistage, a leadership development and business mentoring group comprised of executives around the world. SHR’s founders and staff had long wished to add a new design element to the gardens, a sculptural art form, that would serve to beautify the gardens and educate visitors.
Over the course of three years, SHR’s founders and staff worked with Wesley Wofford to develop this art piece, employing numerous methods to bring this project to fruition. With the use of USGS topographical maps, tracings using a light table, and digital photo software, Wesley was able to transform a digitally-rendered image into a 3-dimentional work of art.
Thanks to the creative talents of Wesley Wofford, visitors now have a personal connection to the mountains in the distance. The bronze topographical map features the name, elevation and distance from the View Site of the following 15 mountain peaks: Cold Mountain, Rich Mountain Bald, Richland Balsam, Panthertail Mountain, Mount Hardy, Tanasee Bald, Devil’s Courthouse, Black Balsam Knob, Graveyard Fields, Fork River Bald, Mount Pisgah, Looking Glass Rock, Mount Mitchell, Black Mountain, and Cedar Rock Mountain. The sculpture now sits as a crown jewel at the precipice of the View Site, honoring the land and those who ensured it would remain for generations to come.
SHR’s founders and staff are very grateful for the talented work of Wesley Wofford and the generous donation from the Vistage Group who made this art installation possible.