Patrick Dougherty and a group of sculpture students are erecting five giant faces made of woven tree saplings that will overlook Rock Hill's Main Street.
Dougherty, a world-renowned artist and N.C. native, began work last week on the type of sculpture he's crafted more than 200 times before: long sticks woven together and stretching up to 25 feet toward the sky, usually with an opening for viewers to walk inside.
Dougherty's project on the lawn of York County's new Community Performance Center is meant to symbolize communication, he said. The faces, all with eyeholes and mouths, seem to be talking to each other.
The mouths act as doorways and the eyes will be skylights, Dougherty said. Each face stares at a different spot on the road, he said, to catch the eyes of motorists.
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Eight sculpture students at Winthrop University are working as Dougherty's assistants. Each has agreed to spend three weeks - including one week of spring break - in Rock Hill helping to gather, harvest and weave tree saplings.
Dougherty's installation is a $15,000 project funded by ACE Projects at Winthrop, a privately funded arts outreach program. ACE has partnered with the university, the Arts Council of York County, the Rock Hill Old Town Association and Rock Hill's Gallery Up to encourage community involvement.
Dougherty said his sculpture will be complete by March 25.