A new sculpture was installed in Bicentennial Park on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.
The Triangle Arts and Culture League (TACL) commissioned Fraga Magna Rotabila, latin for Large Strawberry with Wheels, by artist Merrilee Cleveland in 2018 as a gift to the City of Williamsburg. The newly formed Williamsburg Public Art Council chose Bicentennial Park as the location for this sculpture.
The sculpture depicts a contemporary mythological figure who is bringing his prized strawberry to market with the help and protection of the bird atop his head. The figure stands as a symbol of love, nurturing and protection.
“The board of the Triangle Arts & Culture League thanks our donors and the City Public Works Department for making this artful addition to the park happen,” said Terry Buntrock, president of TACL. “Outdoor spaces have become even more important during the last year, and we hope Williamsburg residents and visitors will enjoy the artwork in this beautiful setting.”
Cleveland, who has been casting art for nearly 30 years, lived in Williamsburg in the mid-1980s and attended Lafayette High School. She later earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago. She previously owned a fine art foundry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and eventually moved back to Williamsburg, where she now resides.
“This is truly my most ambitious piece to date. I am sure that I worked harder on it because of my personal attachment to Williamsburg,” Cleveland said. “The piece was always meant for children and families to enjoy, so I'm thrilled that my own daughter and her friends will get to grow up with it. I have loved witnessing as several other sculptures have been installed in the park over the years. It has really begun to be transformed into a place of gathering, wonderment and joy. It's such an honor to have my piece included in the mix. I am grateful for the opportunity provided by Terry Buntrock, TACL, the donor, and the City of Williamsburg.”
Cleveland, Buntrock, Vice Mayor Pat Dent, Council Member Barbara Ramsey, and several members of the Williamsburg Public Art Council attended the installation.
Learn more about Cleveland’s work on her website, mercuriostudios.com.