Butterfly sculptures flutter in Wesson park

Published 2:58 pm Monday, June 13, 2022

During a time Lincoln County residents are dealing with the searing heat and rising consumer prices, the Wesson Garden Club brought a dose of serene beauty for downtown Wesson to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

During a June 7 gathering, the club welcomed Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw, the Wesson Board of Aldermen, and family and friends to an event “like no other.”

Club President Dixie Thornton began by saying, “On behalf of the Wesson Garden Clue, we want to welcome you to this very special and historical event in the history of the town of Wesson.”

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However, the actual reason for the event remained a surprise until later, when Nancy Sullivan, Brittney Warren and Sherri Carty began to read the poem “Lasting Footprints” by Nancy Grady Wilson. As they did so, sculptures of beautiful butterflies were slowly revealed.

“The Wesson Garden Club’s motto is ‘Making Things Happen,’ and tonight we did just that; it only took 158 years, but we did it,” Thornton said laughing as she mentioned the town was incorporated in 1864.

The custom-designed painted sculptures now sit in Fountain Garden Park. The creation of the sculptures and the event itself was made possible by many workers and volunteers, Thornton said.

The idea for sculptures began about a year ago when Pam and Dwayne McLemore of Steel Outdoors met with Thornton. “Their love for Wesson and their desire to make it a better place to live and work was so strong, they expressed they wanted to enhance tourism,” Thornton said.

After the group brainstormed about possibilities, the club and the business partnered to design sculptures to set in the downtown area. They took the idea to city leaders, and with the support of Mayor Shaw and the Board of Aldermen, the project was a green-lighted to begin.

Brandon McLemore, a “very talented metal designer,” Thornton said, was tasked to design the three amazing butterfly sculptures unveiled that day. “Once Brandon had created the sculptures, they had to be painted,” Thornton said. “Thanks to having a garden club member whose husband is an artist, we were in luck. We were honored to have artists Richard Hoaglin and Mitch Berch take the butterflies and make them come to life.”

After Thornton and the club thanked Steel Outdoors’s Pam, Dwayne and Brandon McLemore; artists Hoaglin and Berch; the town’s leaders; Gary Smith for providing music and Paige Anderson for the photography; visitors surrounded and discussed the beauty of the sculptures, even as the heat beat down.