Benson’s Arts Advisory Board launched a campaign to name the town’s newly installed mule sculpture in early November. After one month and more than 150 submissions, the group has decided on an official name — Mim.
Admittedly, there were a lot of great choices and several names were suggested multiple times.
The name “Mim” was suggested more than a few times by residents who must know a little bit about their town’s history as it has a connection to the beginnings of Benson.
Who Was Mim?
The Town of Benson gets its name from early settler Alfred Monroe Benson — his friends and loved ones called him “Mim.”
The town owes much of its historical development to the railroad line that he helped to establish in 1886. It made Benson a trade hub where many items were brought in and shipped out of town — mules were one of those commodities.
A year later, in 1887, the Town of Benson was incorporated and soon attracted a number of entrepreneurs wishing to take advantage of this new town along an important transportation route.
Bearing that history in mind, the Arts Board decided Mim was a great fit.
More About the Mule Sculpture
The Town of Benson installed its mule sculpture on the pedestal at the intersection of Highways 27 and 50 is now complete in late September.
Greenville, North Carolina artist Jonathan Bowling, aided by Benson Public Works and the Benson Police Department for brief traffic control, finished installing the statue just before this year’s Mule Days celebration.
Mr. Bowling is an accomplished sculptor — his commissioned works can be seen at the Public Sculpture Park in New Bern, the Secret Garden Gallery in Ocracoke, the Chowan Arts Council in Edenton, and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, VA among several other locations around the nation.
His unique approach to sculpture utilizes scrap metal from old vehicles, farm equipment, discarded tools, and structural components like steel rebar to form something new entirely.
Taking a closer look at his latest piece for the Town of Benson, the complexity reveals itself. Wrenches for the mane, welded chain for the tail — while cogs, gears, steel supports, machinery panels, and more make up the body of the animal.