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Estes Hills Elementary Welcomes a New Garden Sculpture

Guy Solie, a Durham artist, says that his creative objective is simply to “make you smile.” A new 15 foot sculpture in front of Estes Hills Elementary School has already brought smiles to hundreds of students, parents and staff, and the joyous impact will continue to be yet another celebration of the sixty years of the school and its community.

On the afternoon of November 27, the school hosted a dedication ceremony of the sculpture with Solie in attendance. Assistant principal Jennifer Halsey emceed the festive ceremony, with 100 fourth grade students present and thrilled to be part of the dedication. Amy Grau of the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce also joined the crowd. There was great excitement as Principal Pamela McCann and Solie used very large scissors to cut through the rainbow ribbon and officially welcome the art piece to the front garden of the school.

“We are honored to have this beautiful piece of art displayed at our school,” said McCann. “It was so generous of Mr. Solie to donate this art to our school. We know that it will be an inspiration to our young artists for years to come.”

The Estes Hills School Beautification Committee reached out to Solie in the fall of 2017 to find out whether they could purchase a small piece of art for one of the flower beds.  When Solie arrived and looked at the grounds, he decided he would make and install a custom piece at no cost.

At the dedication, when Solie was asked what it meant to be able to make something of such significance for the school, he said, "Art inspires children and public art inspires the community."

“I would describe it as ‘Joy Rising’,” one guest commented with a description shared by many.    

Mr. Solie has also provided sculptures to The Ronald McDonald House, Club Boulevard School, Durham Public Schools’ HubFarm and the Briggs Avenue Community Garden.


According to Solie’s website, “In the  early 1970's, while visiting Sotheby's Auction House in New York City, he was inspired by the work of Alexander Calder. Calder's works were joyful, whimsical and unaffordable. So Guy began doing metal sculpture himself.”