New Doc on the Block
Doc Watson is returning to King Street.
At least, his likeness is, and it"s an effort that needs your support.
"Doc Watson got his start in downtown Boone as a blind musician, and he"s become internationally known," project spearhead John Cooper said of the Downtown Boone Development Association (DBDA) campaign. "We just thought it was a wonderful idea to have a tribute to him downtown where he really got his start."
But to do it, DBDA needs to raise the cash, and time is running out.
Sculptor Alex Hallmark has completed the clay version of the statue, and, this week, he"s working on a silicone mold to send to a bronze casting company. But the highlight of the process, at least so far, happened a few weeks ago when Hallmark"s Blowing Rock studio had a visitor.
"Doc Watson comes in," Hallmark said. "He loves to tell stories, so he told stories about playing downtown Boone on the sidewalk."
And he ran his string-callused hands along the clay surface of his likeness.
"He said, "Don"t make my hair too long,"" Hallmark laughed. "He was impressed with his nose and he liked his hands and he liked the crease of his trousers."
It"s Watson"s easy demeanor that makes it a particularly fun portrait for Hallmark, a self-described realist sculptor whose works include the World War II Memorial in Morganton. His passion is easy to read as he sprays water over the clay-based figure.
"(Watson) is a very humble man, and he likes to tell you that," Hallmark said.
But on second thought?
"Actually, I think he kind of likes being in the spotlight, because he loves to tell stories," Hallmark said.
This week, the silicone is being poured for the "impression mold," encased in the hard "mother mold."
It"s been more than six weeks, and Hallmark hopes to have the completed bronze sculpture this summer. That works well for DBDA officials, who hope the unveiling can coincide with the June 3 Friday Art Crawl.
DBDA is selling bricks in front of the statue for $100. To have your own brick, a permanent marker in downtown Boone, contact the Downtown Boone Development Association by calling (828) 264-4532.
The completed statue will be seated on a bench in the area of 642 W. King St. and read, at Watson"s request, "Doc Watson: Just one of the people."
For more sneak peek photos at the sculpture, check out facebook.com/mountaintimes.