Monday, July 30, 2012

Bottleiscous...the Minnie Evans Memorial Chapel

Minnie Evans Memorial Chapel, Arlie Gardens, Wilmington, NC
I just discovered artist Virginia Wright-Frierson. I came across this photo of the Minnie Evans Memorial Chapel at Airlie gardens in Wilmington, NC and had to know more.  The bottle chapel is made of various colored bottles set in mortar over rebar and treated wood posts to form a 7-sided chapel, measuring 17 feet high and 17 feet across in all directions. The chapel is lit at night, giving the effect of huge stained glass windows.

The work of Minnie Evans transcends categorization.
Wright-Frierson won a competition in 2003 to create a memorial garden with her bottle chapel, a tribute to visionary artist Minnie Evans. Evans, who was not formerly educated past the sixth grade was a descendant of slaves and her savant talent was so powerful and rare, her first two drawings are now held in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Arlie Gardens was created in 1901 as a private garden, for the Pembroke Jones family by Mrs. Jones, as a lush, flowing, naturalistic Southern garden, and this is where Evans worked as a gatekeeper for 40 years. Wright-Frierson selected and managed a team of seven artists, who each created their own sculptures. The year-long construction of the project was supported by grants and the help of many volunteers. 
(c) 2012 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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