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Greater Denton Arts Council offers to display damaged ‘Pops’ Carter sculpture

Greater Denton Arts Council offers to display damaged ‘Pops’ Carter sculpture

November 28
13:04 2017

The Greater Denton Arts Council offered a home for the damaged Tom “Pops” Carter sculpture at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center. The Denton Public Art Committee recommends the city council accepts the offer.

“We feel like the Greater Denton Arts Council is our best option to continue to have the“Pops” Carter sculpture on display while protecting it in its current state,” Public Art Committee Chair Brian Wheeler said.

If the city council accepts the offer, then city staff will work with the artist, Christie Wood, or a restoration consultant to stabilize the sculpture before it is moved into the building.

Georgina Ngozi, the executive director of the Greater Denton Arts Council, said the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center offers an appropriate place for the sculpture and will provide safety and protection for the artwork.

She wants to have a Quakertown Park backdrop to represent the sculpture’s original location and have musical performances alongside the artwork. 

“Our intention is to allow it to continue to be available to the community rather than remove it from the cultural landscape,” Ngozi said.

Wood said the new location would offer 24/7 protection but limit the viewership of the sculpture. She hopes the broken sculpture will teach individuals about vandalism, public art, race relations and the role of art.

“The Greater Denton Arts Council generously offered to put it inside the Patterson Center for the Arts, and I thought it was a great idea,” Wood said.

Tom “Pops” Carter moved to Denton in the 1980s and formed the band Pops Carter and the Funkmonsters. His band was a popular act at the annual Denton Blues Festival. The musician died in 2012 when he was 92. 

The Parks and Recreation department conducted an open bid for artists to create a design that will honor the blues singer. Wood, who has a stained glass shop in Denton and has practiced it for 22 years, won the bid.

She created a colored, stained glass sculpture that was placed in Quakertown Park.

“It’s a new technique in the stained glass world to create outdoor sculptures using glass in a safe manner,” Wood said. “It worked pretty darn well until someone took a baseball bat to it.”

The sculpture has been vandalized twice in its three-year history. Wheeler said the first instance was repairable, but the second, which occurred in September, has damages beyond that of repair.

After the incident, the city started raising funds to replace or move the sculpture. About $1,200 was raised, according to a Denton Record-Chronicle article.

Wood does not know the motives behind damaging the sculpture but thinks it might be race related. Police have not made any arrests for the vandalism.

Wood decided to name the damaged statue “Pop’s Broken Heart” because the major impact is at the heart and radiates outward. She is looking to create a new sculpture but has not started working on it yet.

The damaged sculpture is currently in the city’s storage center and will remain there until a decision is made. Wheeler said the move requires spending money, which can not happen until they get city council approval.

He anticipates some citizens will be disappointed because the sculpture will no longer be in Quakertown Park.

Wood said the sculpture memorializes a legend that is known for his music, generosity and colorful character. Ngozi also said Carter is legendary for mentoring people and singing the blues.

“Everyone knew his personality, his character and what the community meant to him,” Ngozi said. “It’s important that his representation remain visible and alive. The people will keep it alive wherever the sculpture is placed.”

Featured Image: Christie Wood, creator of the “Pops” Carter sculpture, works on a new piece in her studio. Wood takes commissioned orders as well as making things to sell in her shop. Cameron Roe

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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