New Sculpture Garden at Spirit Square Celebrates Business Leaders’ Commitment to Making the Arts Thrive in Charlotte

Dec 17, 2018 / Blog
By Liz Rothaus Bertrand

Have you seen the new garden growing outside Spirit Square?

Three whimsical wind sculptures have been planted on the Square near the College Street entrance in recognition of the first three companies to receive Blumenthal’s Business Leaders for the Arts Award.

The award, which is presented annually, recognizes each recipient for their support of Blumenthal. To date, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank and Barings have been honored with the award and a sculpture.

Additional sculptures will be added in future years as new award winners are chosen. 



The wind sculptures give us a way to extend the impact and publicly recognize companies whose support has been critical to our ability to serve the community,” says Blumenthal President and CEO Tom Gabbard. 


Barings, a global investment management company headquartered in Charlotte, was the first organization to receive the new award in September, at the 2018 Blumenthal Business Leaders of the Arts Annual Dinner. The organization was a major sponsor of Blumenthal’s 25th Anniversary Season and supports many other arts organizations locally, including Charlotte Ballet and The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and in other communities where its employees work and live.


“The arts matter,” Tom Finke, CEO of Barings, told guests assembled at this third annual gathering, celebrating the arts and the vital role businesses play in supporting cultural opportunities for their employees and all Charlotteans to enjoy. “We need now more than ever a great, vibrant, growing arts community.”




Sculptures honoring past honorees, PNC Bank (2017) and Wells Fargo (2016), have also been added to the Square at Spirit Square. PNC Bank is the sponsor of the Broadway Lights Series and Wells Fargo is the founding sponsor of The Blumey Awards.


“Previously at our annual Business Leaders of the Arts event, we were giving the award winner a beautiful piece of sculpture that they proudly displayed back at their offices,” says Gabbard. “Knowing how deeply committed these companies are to serving the entire community, we came up with this alternative to honor them with art that would be appreciated year round outside at Spirit Square.”




The sculptures were created by Utah-based artist Lyman Whitaker. He has been sculpting for more than 50 years. Whitaker’s hand-made, kinetic pieces are often inspired by plant forms and evoke harmony with other natural elements. Made of forged steel, these mesmerizing creations spin silently, powered only by the wind. Hiis work has been commissioned for spaces as varied as airports, botanic gardens, town halls and public parks. Grovewood Gallery in Asheville represents Whitaker in North Carolina.


Next time you’re near Spirit Square, take a moment to enjoy these new works of art. Perhaps they will inspire you in surprising and wonderful ways—as the arts so often do!