Something to Celebrate

Sonia Thompson

At Splinter Creek, we believe that art and nature are the perfect complement to one another. There are few things that can inspire artistic creativity the way nature does, while natural spaces can be enhanced by the beauty of art. We recently chatted with Oxford-based artist Earl Dismuke about his sculpture Victory Dance, which was commissioned for Splinter Creek.

Splinter Creek: In your words, how did Victory Dance come to be?
Earl Dismuke: I was hired by Ellen to install two Woods Davy pieces at her lake house and we became friends from that experience. She learned that I was a sculptor as well and asked me if I had any work to show her. I gave her my website and she saw on it a maquette, a smaller version of Victory Dance. She commissioned me to build a larger version to go at Splinter Creek in a common area.

SC: What was your inspiration?
ED: This piece was constructed during the Covid-19 Pandemic at a time when there was so much uncertainty and fear. Everyone was social distancing and we were very isolated. I wanted to make a piece that was uplifting and hopeful. Even though we were isolated from one another, it was important to maintain our connections to each other and continue to find joy and celebrate life. The rings are symbolic of relationships. They are welded together to symbolize connection. The circles depict movement and appear to be dancing in a celebratory way. Victory Dance serves as a reminder that there is always someone or something to celebrate.

Installing Victory Dance at Splinter Creek.

SC: How did you know it was the right fit for Splinter Creek?
ED: Ellen and I spent time scouting several locations she had picked out as potential sites. I put a lot of thought into what location would be the best fit. After some discussion, Ellen and I agreed that the best location for the piece was the common area by Partner’s Pond. We went back and forth on the color of the piece. Ellen originally wanted matte black. However, I had reservations about doing a matte black piece because I feared it would get lost against the dark evergreen foliage. I pushed for it to be a bright color. Ellen was inspired to paint it a mustard color after seeing a piece of farming equipment in the local landscape. We are both thrilled with how the bright color makes the piece pop against the beautiful surroundings.

Earl Dismuke's children help him install his sculpture Victory Dance at Splinter Creek.

SC: What does outdoor art add to a beautiful place like Splinter Creek?
ED: Victory Dance adds a point of interest to the landscape. The negative space within the rings acts as portals allowing you to view the landscape from different perspectives as you walk around the piece. For me, the placement of this piece finished the work. This piece was not completed until it was moved into its final location.

SC: How could other real estate developers benefit from investing in public art?
ED: Public art activates spaces that may be nondescript or unusable. Research shows that areas with an active cultural scene are more attractive to individuals and businesses. Public art can transform and enhance landscapes.

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