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Major Public Art Installation Graces Wilson Center Lobby

The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College ushers in the new year with a stunning art installation – a 28-piece, mobile arrangement of colorful aluminum starbursts crafted by renowned artist and activist Dorothy Gillespie. This new installation in the main lobby – entitled Hanging Starbursts – joins three other Gillespie pieces, including Entrance to the Enchanted Castle, which has graced the Wilson Center lobby and been seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors since the building’s opening in 2015, as well as Festival of Sound and Gold Panels with Ribbons.

Hanging Starbursts and Gold Panels with Ribbons are on loan from the Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation for the next three to five years, while Entrance to the Enchanted Castle is on loan from the Cameron Art Museum. Festival of Sound was generously gifted to the Wilson Center permanently by the Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation in 2020. Those interested in viewing the artwork are encouraged to visit the Wilson Center during regular business hours, Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm, or simply take a look around the lobby next time they attend a show.

According to Gary Israel, son of the artist, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the installation at the Wilson Center, and the perfect location for my mother’s Hanging Starbursts where children and adults can admire her art. My mother always cherished the vibrant arts scene in Wilmington, where she had a home and many friends. The special relationship with the city of Wilmington was apparent during the citywide Dorothy Gillespie Centennial Celebration in Wilmington in 2020.”

Shane Fernando, Vice President for Advancement and Arts states, “I am so delighted that Dorothy’s work and life experiences continue to serve as an inspiration to our students and the community at-large.  This new installation in particular is absolutely stunning and commands the space with such power and grace; I couldn’t be more thankful to Gary Israel and the Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation.” 

Dorothy Gillespie was well known as a painter, sculptor, and installation artist whose work encompassed many significant 20th-century trends in art; she pioneered positive new directions for metal sculpture and is best known for large-scale, colorfully painted arrangements of cut aluminum. Gillespie’s career spanned seven decades, and was always in the forefront of the American Art movement.  Ms. Gillespie’s works have graced and still grace many institutions.  She was one of the first artists to offer her art to the world through displays in the lobbies of public institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Epcot Center, Rockefeller Center, United States Mission to the United Nations, Fort Lauderdale Airport-Delta Terminal, Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Miami Public Library, and many other public sites.

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