There are still spaces available for you to make your mark on the new Downtown Lenoir Clock Tower sculpture. The sculpture titled "Time Well Spent" will hold the City's historic downtown clock for hopefully another 100 years, or more!
Last year in November, the City had to demolish the old clock tower on the square in Downtown Lenoir. Sections of the façade were cracking and pulling away from the brick underneath and the structure was weakening. After removing the tower, staff stored the clock for safekeeping.
Main Street Director Kaylynn Horn and City staff started exploring options to build something new to hold the City clock. Horn spoke with Western North Carolina Sculpture Center Executive Director Joe Bigley about the project and they started brainstorming ideas. They talked about the historic city clock, public art and sculpture, and the community. Bigley took those discussions and designed a piece titled "Time Well Spent."
"Time Well Spent" will be a 25-foot-tall, three-column sculpture that will support the historic City clock. Most of the sculpture will be made of weathering steel, but there will be touches of stained glass and lighting.
More importantly, there will be space on the piece for 189 cast-iron tiles that will be created by the public. The tiles will be welded to the columns of the sculpture and on the bottom of the main panels.
WNC Sculpture Center staff poured the first round of tiles at the Wood, Fire, Smoke Festival this past Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023.
WNC Sculpture Center staff heat the furnace to melt the iron for the Time Well Spent Tiles at Wood, Fire, Smoke, Oct. 21, 2023.
Time Well Spent tiles after being taken out of the molds at the 2023 Wood, Fire, Smoke Festival.
Mayor Joe Gibbons shows off his cleaned tile he made for the Time Well Spent Sculpture that will hold the Downtown Lenoir Clock. | Photo by Joe Bigley
Jennifer Indicott created a diamond shaped tile that will be placed on the upper panel of the clock tower sculpture. | Photo by Becky Gibbons
"We had the opportunity to create tiles for the new clock tower sculpture going in Lenoir's city square," said Jennifer Indicott, owner of Fercott Fermentables in Downtown Lenoir, on Facebook. "Thank you to the WNC Sculpture Center and the City of Lenoir, NC Government for furthering the collection of Public art on display in our town. It's projects like this that drew me back home and helped inspire me to start Fercott Fermentables. And a BIG thank you to my mom for helping create the tile design!"
Mayor Joe Gibbons also saw his finished tile at the festival.
"I love my tile, both of our tiles," Mayor Gibbons said. "Becky and I are really pleased with them. They were perfect, and we look forward to seeing them on the sculpture. We encourage everyone to get involved. This will be something that we will all be proud of in the community."
The sculpture is being funded by a $50,000 private donation to WNC Sculpture Center. Bigley is raising funds to help pay for around 30 tiles for local youth who may not be able to take part otherwise.
"We are very grateful for this generous gift to make this project happen," Bigley said. "Also, WNCSC is actively seeking sponsors to contribute so that underserved children will have a chance to take part in this exciting opportunity."
There are still plenty of tiles available, so sign up soon to make a permanent mark on public art in Downtown Lenoir. Everyone who purchases a tile will have to attend a workshop where they will create the scratch mold for their tile. WNC Sculpture Center staff will pour the molds at a later date.
Click the following link to buy a tile and sign up for a workshop to create your own work of art, https://www.eventeny.com/events/time-well-spent-clock-tower-sculpture-workshops-8079/.
The tiles cost $75.00. You can buy an upper tile, which is more diamond shaped, or a lower tile, which are all square. Workshops to create your tiles will start again on Nov. 11.
The new clock tower will be located on the corner of Main Street and West Avenue where the old clock tower stood.
The City demolished the old clock tower last fall after the façade started cracking and pulling away from the brick underneath.
The clock was made by O.B. McClintock Co. in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The City Clock has been part of Downtown Lenoir since the early 1920s. It was originally located on the corner of the Bank of Lenoir, which was adjacent to the current City Hall. The clock was manufactured by O.B. McClintock Co. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It has four sides and four glass faces. The white, round dial is surrounded by green stained glass to make a square face. It was designed to be lit from within to shine white and green at night.
When the Bank of Lenoir building was demolished, the City of Lenoir acquired the clock and built a new tower for it on the square. At some point, the clock stopped working. In the early 2000s, Mr. Curtis Moore helped City staff install new timers on each clock face and get it running again.
The clock, which has been restored to full working order, is currently being stored until the Time Well Spent sculpture is completed.