Art That Moves You

Those who call North Carolina home already appreciate the beauty the state has to offer. Filled with amazing people and surrounded by incredible landscapes and scenery, North Carolina shines.

Art That Moves You is a new initiative of Governor Pat McCrory to improve bridges and infrastructures throughout the state of North Carolina to demonstrate the clever imagination that resides within our communities. By expanding the use of texture, landscaping, lighting, stamping and the display of original art, watch North Carolina’s aesthetics improve as we showcase North Carolina’s unique cultural artistic heritage in years to come.

An Interagency Colloboration

To accomplish robust change across our infrastructures, Governor McCrory encourages collaboration among North Carolina’s Departments of Transportation, Cultural Resources and Commerce to engage with local private and public institutions to upgrade the current infrastructure, bridges and gateways to highlight the creativity, beauty and innovative culture of North Carolina. Inspiration will come from the local levels across the state to highlight individual regions and to celebrate the diversity within North Carolina.

Showcasing North Carolina Art

North Carolina offers a backdrop of beauty from the mountains to the sea, but the charm of the state also resides in its people and their inspiring and innovative thinking, their hard work and their drive for excellence. Art That Moves You draws upon these qualities to enhance our roadways and welcome points with compelling and creative aesthetics. North Carolina welcomes tourists to travel our great state to witness an increase in the display of unique and attractive artistic expression, but welcome all to participate in authentic and memorable experiences and catch a glimpse of the amazing quality of life North Carolina residences enjoy every day.

Please come inside the two I-95 Welcome Centers to learn more about Art That Moves You, the whirligigs and North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage.

Whirligigs: Our First Pieces of Art

Saw Dog
Whirligig by Vollis Simpson
At I-95 South by the Virginia Border. On loan from the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park & Museum in Wilson.

Saw Dog

 

 

 

 

Dive Bomber Duck
Whirligig by Vollis Simpson
At I-95 South by the Virginia Border. On loan from the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park & Museum in Wilson, and sponsored by First Citizens Bank.

Dive Bomber Duck

 

 

 

 

About The Artist

Vollis Simpson (1919–2013) never called himself an artist, but the thousands of people who have visited his astounding whirligig field in Wilson County, N.C., certainly did. After a lifetime repairing machinery and moving houses, Simpson found himself at age 65 with spare time and many, many spare parts. Rather than “sit around and watch TV,” he recalled a windmill he constructed during World W II and began to build. Using the same rigs he’s developed from moving houses, Simpson constructed enormous windmills in his yard with recycled street signs and materials.

Towering 50 feet or more above ground, and extending as far outwards, Simpson’s whirligigs demonstrate the power of individual imagination coupled with his homegrown knowledge of mechanics, earning his work a place in international art collections and museums around the country. These compelling, nationally recognized assemblages have found their way from a crossroads in rural North Carolina to international art collections, testifying to their wide-ranging appeal and their abiding influence on his peers as well as younger generations of artists and engineers. Many have found a home in the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Historic Downtown Wilson, where they delight visitors young and old from far and wide.

North Carolina's Official Folk Art

Simpson’s artistry was recognized in 2013 when the N.C. State Legislature designated Vollis Simpson’s whirligigs the state’s official folk art. Simpson well represents North Carolina with his innovative art work made from recyclable material and his strong work ethic. The charm and beauty of North Carolina shines in the people and the landscapes. Enjoy.