Thomas Sayre’s 1999 “Gyre” exhibit (Courtesy Beth Shugg)
You might be surprised to learn that the pedestrian bridge crossing Interstate 440 near Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh leads to 160-acre park encompassing fields, woodlands and creeks. And this isn’t just any park — it’s the North Carolina Museum of Art Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, which extends art outdoors — across the park’s fields and throughout its paved trail.
Art blends with nature in commissioned exhibits that represent collaborations among artists, designers and environmental scientists. Thomas Sayre’s 1999 “Gyre” exhibit, for example, features three ellipses of iron oxide-colored concrete made with reinforced steel that contrast brightly with the surrounding green grass and blue sky.
Famous for making whirligigs out of parts from discarded cars, truck, bicycle and farm machinery parts, World War II Veteran Vollis Simpson created a “Wind Machine” exhibit for the park in 2002 out of steel and other media.
Visitors who walk the park trail will also see Steed Taylor’s “Invasive” sidewalk art, designed with high-gloss latex paint, and Martha Jackson-Jarvis’ “Crossroads/Trickster 1” sculpture, which combines Italian glass tiles, carnelian stones and shattered bricks to create a mosaic surface.
Chris Drury designed the “Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky” to operate as an oversized pinhole camera; and Mike Cindric and Vincent Petrarca used steel, wood, aluminum and concrete to construct “Lowe’s Pavilion,” a shelter project that features a perforated, metallic skin inspired by a dragonfly’s wings.
The museum park is open from dawn to dusk daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.