Local metal sculpture artist Benji Carr is crafting a 14-foot dandelion for the new wheelchair-accessible courtyard at the Cobblestone Arts Center in Farmington.
Cobblestone is in the process of expanding to accommodate a growing student population.
“The sculpture will be a fantastic addition alongside the other changes taking place at the center,” said Lorene Benson, executive director. “This is not only for our students, but for the community to admire. It has always been our hope to bring the arts to a rural neighborhood.”
Carr considered many factors while designing this piece, including the weather. He saw the need to create something from durable materials that could withstand wind, rain, sun and snow. These factors contributed to decisions about the foundation, dimensions and materials.
Ultimately, Carr decided to ground the sculpture with a concrete foundation and steel base. He needed something strong enough to hold up against the weather and support a 4-foot flower head that would open and close.
Carr first became interested in the arts while doing maintenance at a nonprofit arts and crafts school in 1974. In return for his labor, Carr took classes in everything from blacksmithing to photography.
“I did anything that I found interesting,” Carr said.
His mother was a fabric artist and encouraged him to explore different classes. Carr went on to work with metals, creating sculptures and functional pieces. His designs include a minimalist railing, poolside pieces and a staircase overlooking Canandaigua Lake. Carr paints all of his sculptures.
The current piece is titled “The Denizen,” or an inhabitant. Carr defines a denizen and his piece as “resilient, stalwart and ubiquitous.” He described dandelions’ essence as “present whether we like them or not. Many will classify them as a weed, while the more sensitive recognize it’s our place in organic fabric. Flora, fauna and human life deserve an existence. All life is important.”
Donations for the installation can be made at cobblestoneartscenter.com or (585) 398-0220.