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Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition Winners Announced

The Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition is celebrating its milestone 35th anniversary of showcasing contemporary American sculpture in outdoor settings. The competition has become firmly established as a cultural treasure and a significant point of pride for Appalachian State University and the entire region. On Saturday, July 10, under beautiful sunny skies, a crowd of 175 art lovers converged to attend the 35th Annual Rosen Sculpture Walk with juror Rachel Stevens who provided an insightful and educational outdoor tour of the nine sculpture finalists. The tour concluded with an awards presentation to announce the winners of this cherished event. 

The sculptures in this year’s competition represent a diversity of styles from biomorphic to whimsical to thought-provoking. The artists have expressed their three-dimensional concepts with expert craftsmanship utilizing a variety of materials, designs and techniques to create their sculptures. Each year, an artist is invited to jury the competition and this year juror Rachel Stevens from Missoula, MT selected the sculpture finalists and the winning entries.

The winners of the 35th Anniversary Rosen Sculpture Competition are:

Joan Benefiel (Brooklyn, NY), Hoodoos, 2019; Resin, steel. Rachel Stevens commended this work as follows: “What really attracted me to this piece was the kind of almost flock-like texture steel holding aloft these two biomorphic forms that are at once geological and figurative in expression. Having lived in New Mexico for more than twenty-five years, hoodoos are a rather common stone formation in our landscape and so I really appreciated the luminous translation of geology into these forms. I want to commend Joan’s eye through photography; these works, to look through them or look up at them with the sky behind them, I think that’s going to be a really kind of beautiful play between earth and atmosphere.”

Charles Pilkey (Mint Hill, NC), Steampunk Babylon, 2020; Rusted steel, bronze. Stevens reflected on Pilkey’s sculpture stating: “This work brings to mind a kind of mechanic reimagination of Pieter Bruegel’s Tower of Babel but now the aesthetic has turned to steampunk. It’s a cylindrical form that seems to be telescoping vertically upward, getting smaller and smaller and its surface is punctuated by all of these presumably found objects and perhaps cast bronze pieces.”

David Boyajian (New Fairfield, CT), Unfurling Rising, 2020; Oxidized Steel. According to Stevens: “This is a beautiful kind of classical image of positive and negative space, curvilinear forms, planer curvilinear forms just masterfully arranged dynamically in space. This would be a fun piece to kind of mentally insert yourself into, playing, kind of weaving through all these negative spaces.”

Gretchen Lotz (Orlando, FL), Blue Nautilus, 2018; Bronze (Located at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) at 159 Ginny Stevens Lane, Blowing Rock). Stevens shared these words about Blue Nautilus: “This sculpture kind of brings to mind an extension of David Smith’s work in terms of a lot of the verticality, the totemic quality of a lot of these forms, how they interrelate to one another, abstract figures in a landscape, the varied use of the grinder to create shimmering surfaces, coupled with areas of rusted metal and other areas of very bright primary colors.”

This national juried competition is presented by An Appalachian Summer Festival and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and is made possible by the generous support of the Martin and Doris Rosen Giving Fund/Debbie Rosen Davidson and David Rosen and the Charles and Nancy Rosenblatt Foundation. For more information visit: rosensculpture.org. A map and Digital Connections guide, along with the virtual tour are available on the tcva.org/art/ website. 

Maps are available at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. The sculptures will be on view through May 2022.

About the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, named for university benefactors Robert and Lillian Turchin, fulfills Appalachian State University’s long-held mission of providing a home for world-class visual arts programming.  The largest facility of its kind in the region, the center presents exhibition, education and collection programs that support the university’s role as a key educational, cultural and service resource. The center presents multi-dimensional exhibits and programs and is a dynamic presence in the community, creating opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the power and excitement of the visual arts. Its seven galleries host changing exhibitions featuring local, regional, national and international artists.  

The Turchin Center is located at 423 West King St., in Boone and is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Tues. – Thurs. and Saturday, and Noon – 8 p.m., Friday. The Center is closed Sunday and Monday, and observes all university holidays. Admission is always free, although donations are gratefully accepted.For general inquiries, to be added to the mailing or e-news list, to obtain donor program details or to schedule a tour, call 828-262-3017, e-mail turchincenter@appstate.edu or visit tcva.org. The Turchin Center can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter @TurchinCenter.


The Turchin Center receives critical support from a group of outstanding media sponsors that are dedicated to promoting the arts in our region, including: High Country 365, High Country Radio, WFDD 88.5, WDAV 89.9 and WASU 90.5FM.