The newest addition to Falls Park was unveiled yesterday, a sculpture by world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. The piece, which is titled “Rose Crystal Tower,” is located in the westernmost portion of the park behind the West End Market in Harriet’s Garden. The garden is named for Harriet Wyche, a lifelong Greenville resident and member of the Carolina Foothills Garden Club, who were together instrumental in the creation of Falls Park. Mrs. Wyche, who died in 2011, was fondly remembered during the dedication as a beautiful person who had an incredible vision – one she saw realized through her unwavering work in the development of Falls Park, the heart of modern-day Greenville.
The dedication ceremony included speakers Knox White (Mayor of Greenville), Brad Wyche (son of Harriet Wyche and founder of Upstate Forever), Anna Kate Hipp (former president of the Carolina Foothills Garden Club and co-chair of the Falls Park Endowment, Paul Ellis (former City of Greenville Parks & Recreation Department director) and Ed Zeigler (chair of the City’s Arts in Public Places Commission). Once everyone had their say the black cover was pulled off, revealing the 8-foot, rose-colored Polyvitro tower.
The pink crystals are attached to a central column of stainless steel and are installed on a precast concrete base designed to match the benches in Harriet’s Garden. I was quite surprised at the end result, being as every Chihuly piece I’ve ever seen, from the sculptures at the Chicago Botanical Gardens to the chandelier at the Las Vegas Bellagio Casino and hotel, all share similar color and shape characteristics – which are nothing like the Rose Crystal Tower.
After hearing about Mrs. Wyche’s passion for gardening and roses, and with the mention of a photo published in an old Greenville newspaper of Harriet weeding – in pearls – I was able to better understand the design. Chihuly’s pieces are often compared to plants or flowers, and the glass utilizes a wide range of natural colors. In contrast, the Rose Crystal Tower is composed of crystals, made of Polyvitro and is only pink. The sculpture is already growing on me, and although I imagine there will be plenty of comparisons to pink rock candy sticks, I like that it is as unique and bold as Falls Park, Greenville and Mrs. Harriet Wyche.