Benson Installs New Sculpture At Library

The first work in a planned “rotating sculpture tour” for Downtown Benson

“Geometer’s Gate” by Mint Hill, NC artist Charles Pilkey installed at the Mary Duncan Public Library in Benson, NC (100 W. Main Street)

BENSON – The Town of Benson and the Benson Arts Advisory Board are proud to announce the installation of the latest art project in the community.

Earlier today, Mint Hill artist Charles Pilkey, along with some help from the Benson Electric Department’s boom truck, installed a sculpture entitled “Geometer’s Gate” at the Mary Duncan Public Library (100 W. Main Street).

The metal sculpture, which stands just over 10-feet tall, is an amalgam of different shapes and colors — a yellow cylinder, orange circle, red triangle, blue and green rectangles, a small powder blue sphere, and a large purple cube.

A “geometer” is a mathematician whose area of study is geometry. The idea behind the piece was to highlight the historical contributions of these revolutionary geometers throughout the ages.

“The sculpture consists of geometric shapes, roughly in the form of a gate,” explained Mr. Pilkey. “This work is a praise of the mathematical minds throughout history that have helped to shape our view of the cosmos.”

If you look closely in the large green rectangle, you’ll notice the small silhouette of a person.

“There’s a character, a figure on this sculpture that represents Galileo with a telescope looking up at the heavens,” said Mr. Pilkey.

Mint Hill, NC artist Charles Pilkey

Geometer’s Gate is the first piece in what the Benson Arts Advisory Board plans to be a rotating “sculpture tour” in town. The location at the library — on the stone pad next to the flag pole in front of the building — was thought to be the perfect place to begin the idea.

Mr. Pilkey’s work is leased and will be on display for one year in Benson, then it will be removed (destined for another town) and another artist’s work will be installed. Right now, the library is the only spot selected for these “rotating” art pieces, but the Art Board hopes to add more locations around town in the future.

“We thought the library was the perfect spot, especially for this piece,” said Art Board Chair Betsy Whittington, noting the colorful shapes and educational nature of the piece. “We’re excited to see this idea become a reality, which we hope is just the start of bringing innovative art into our downtown.”

There are similar sculpture programs in the downtowns of Clayton, Cary, and Fayetteville, among many other towns and cities across North Carolina and the nation. Now, we can add Benson to the mix, added Mrs. Whittington.

Mr. Pilkey has been making art and sculpture since he was 15-years-old.

“I tend to look at things from space — looking at the human condition,” he said. “I was formally trained as a geologist and a geologist looks at the world from a historical perspective. The evolution of the planet, the evolution of life, the evolution of technology.”

His work can be seen all over North Carolina in places like Fayetteville, Mebane, Rocky Mount, and Charlotte. He also has several pieces at locations around the United States like Clarksville Commons Shopping Center in Maryland, the Knoxville Zoo and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Tennessee, and the City of Port Huron in Michigan.

Mr. Pilkey has also been featured in several international art shows in Korea and Turkey.

“I’ve always been doing sculpture and artwork and things like that — I was born this way,” he said.

As for Geometer’s Gate in Benson, Mr. Pilkey said he simply wants people to enjoy his work.

“If they want to ponder for a moment the tribute, the homage to the geometers — going all the way back to the Ancient Greeks and coming into modern times with Einstein — that’s ok, but this particular work is visual entertainment,” he explained.

“I want people to look at the work until they see it. Look at the forms and then enjoy them.”

View more of Charles Pilkey’s work at


  1. With the street conditions in Benson by the time you make it to the sculpture you’re already spinning.

  2. I normally would applaud things like this but our town has so many more important things they should worry about besides rotating sculptures. Have you all studied the budget proposal? Are you ready to accept new tax hikes on just about everything? Just sayin–what is your priority?

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