Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Wilmington’s Art Council requests quarter million in grant money to install flytrap sculptures throughout Wilmington

The sculptures would call attention to the unique wetlands that allow the carnivorous plant to grow here.

Drawing inspiration from Southern Comfort in Downtown Wilmington, the Council of Arts is hoping to commission 50 flytrap sculptures throughout the city (Port City Daily photo/BEN SCHACHTMAN)
Drawing inspiration from Southern Comfort in Downtown Wilmington, the Council of Arts is hoping to commission 50 flytrap sculptures throughout the city (Port City Daily photo/BEN SCHACHTMAN)

WILMINGTON — The Venus Flytrap is one of Southeastern North Carolina’s most cherished native species, which is only found in the wild within a 100-mile radius of Wilmington. That’s why visitors to Wilmington’s Riverfont Park are greeted by the towering Southern Hospitality sculpture of the carnivorous plant.

Now, The City of Wilmington will consider applying for a grant that would allow the commission of 50 new flytrap sculptures throughout the city. The initiative, known as Flytrap Fanfare, is spearheaded by The Arts Council of Wilmington/New Hanover County.

The grant, offered by the Bloomberg Grant Public Art Challenge, requires that the art project must address a community issue; Flytrap Fanfare would address to the city’s wetlands and waterways.

“The goal of the Venus Flytrap Project is to educate the public about the uniqueness of flytraps, their importance to the local biosphere, and ways to help protect these plants,” according to the proposed resolution.

According to the application that will be submitted to Bloomberg “Through the Venus Flytrap project, we hope to educate the public about the uniqueness of the flytraps, their importance to the local biosphere, and ways to help protect these plants. We are consulting with the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, an organization devoted to protecting native populations of flytraps.

“In envisioning this sculpture installation, we chose the flytrap as the sculptural motif because these carnivorous plants are native only to the swampy lowlands of southeastern North Carolina,” the application states.

Since the grant would not cover the entirety of the project cost of $258,750, the Cape Fear Clinic has agreed to provide the matching funds for the installation.

“The Cape Fear Clinic is providing a total of $23,360. Part of that in kind and part of that actual costs associated with the design and creation of the Venus Flytraps,” Rhonda Bellamy executive director for the Arts Council of Wilmington said.

While the request to City Council does not ask for any contribution, Bellamy said their application would be stronger if council agreed to commit something towards the project.

Unlike Southern Hospitality, the 50 newly proposed sculptures would only be in Wilmington for two years, then they would be auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Cape Fear Clinic.

The finances are broken down as follows:

  • $75,000 to build 50 flytraps, cost of transportation, storage, and artistic supplies; mounting/pedestals
  • $100,000 for a two-year full-time marketing person (employed by the Arts Council)
  • $50, 000 for a two-year project manager
  • $33,750 for grant administration

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