If you didn't get the chance to travel to China to see an Olympic event in person, we in Cornelius are lucky enough to have a piece of the Olympics here in our hometown.
The 12-foot tall sculpture “Lucky 8,” created by Cornelius resident Jon Hair – an official sculptor of the U.S. Olympic Team since 2003 – is on display at the back of Cornelius Town Hall until Oct. 4. The sculpture, a copy of one on display in the Beijing International Sculpture Park, was brought to Cornelius from New Mexico.
Hair was invited to create this art piece by the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee and the Beijing City Sculpture Administration.
The sculpture is named “Lucky 8” because it not only resembles the number eight, but because this number is good luck for the Chinese. That's why the Olympic opening ceremonies were on 8-8-08.
Hair designed and placed this sculpture so it casts a shadow of the number eight. Hair said that whoever walks through its shadow would receive good luck.
Besides being good luck, Hair said the sculpture has other symbolic meaning. He designed the sculpture with one ring looking like it's pulling the other out of the earth, representing the Olympic struggle and also the emergence of China.
Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte, as well as the Arts and Science Council, was instrumental in getting this art displayed at the town hall. Tarte said this is a way for the town to celebrate the Olympics. “It's a privilege to have him (Hair) in our home town.”
In case you want a “Lucky 8” of your own, you can have one. Hair was on the television shopping channel QVC, selling miniatures of his sculpture. The proceeds from the purchase of this sculpture go to support the present and future Olympic teams. Go to QVC.com and search for “Lucky 8” to see what's for sale.
At jonhair.com you can see the artist's additional sculptures. Another of Hair's sculptures, titled “Olympic Strength,” sits outside the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado. The 35-foot-tall sculpture depicts athletes holding the globe with the Olympic rings on their backs.
Go to www.cornelius.org to see a slideshow of the installation of the sculpture behind the town hall.