Sunday, June 7, 2009


Over two years in the making, the bronze fountain honoring Titania the Faery Queen was dedicated last Friday. This 16 foot tall sculpture inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a collaborative work between two Abingdon-based artists, Charles Vess and David Spence.

The fountain was commissioned by the Barter Theater. Now, for readers that do not live in the area, the Barter is not a movie theater. It is a local institution founded back in 1933 during the depression and it is now the longest running equity theater in America. It produces professional plays that are performed in two venues. A link to find out more about the interesting history of the Barter is included below.

On the left side of the photo above, Puck holds up a comedy mask to mirror the tragedy mask Titania offers.

The sight of this sculpture reminds me of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture on the north side of New York Central Park's Conservatory Water. While the Alice statue is only 11 foot tall, she is also bronze and surrounded by animals and attendants. Alice sits atop a toadstool, while Titania perches upon a tree stump. Much beloved by the children that visit, many areas show a burnished metal shine created by the frequent touch of small fingers and hands. I suspect similar wear will become evident on the hare's ears and two foxes standing near Titania.

Here Charles Vess shares a few highlights and remembrances of the construction phase and celebrates an endeavor coming to completion. There are multiple photos of the construction process at his web site linked below.

Charles Vess and his wife Karen Shaffer

After the formal dedication, some folks went over to the Barter to see a production of the Wizard of Oz and others of us adjourned to the Gallery on Main for the Puck Luck celebration. I got a chance to meet David Spence and had a long entertaining chat with Anthony Dean, the welder tasked with assembling the hundred plus component cast pieces that became Titania.

The food was fabulous and many of the discussions centered on art.

Who can resist a reception that includes a faery playing the harp?


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