- Address: Intersection of HWY 50 and 27, Benson, NC 27504
- Phone: (919) 894-3553
- Fax: (919) 894-1283
The Benson Art Advisory Board chose the mule for this sculpture— as an icon — for its obvious connection to the Town of Benson and its farming heritage, annual Mule Days celebration, and how the famed “stubborn” animal represents a drive into the future while also representing Benson’s roots.
Taking a closer look at this sculpture piece, the complexity reveals itself. Wrenches for the mane, welded chain for the tail — while cogs, gears, steel supports, machinery panels, and more make up the body of the animal.
Greenville, North Carolina artist Jonathan Bowling, aided by Benson Public Works and the Benson Police Depart for brief traffic control installed the mule. After a community naming contest, the mule is named, MIM, which was the nickname of Benson's founder, Alfred Benson.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jonathan Bowling is an accomplished sculptor — his commissioned works can be seen at the Public Sculpture Park in New Bern, the Secret Garden Gallery in Ocracoke, the Chowan Arts Council in Edenton, and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, VA among several other locations around the nation. His unique approach to sculpture utilizes scrap metal from old vehicles, farm equipment, discarded tools, and structural components like steel rebar to form something new entirely — like Benson’s mule. Jonathan Bowling grew up on a small farm in Kentucky. His first sculptural efforts were the simple games of childhood — fieldstone castles, a bridle of hay twine, a driftwood armada. As a teenager in the late 1980s, Mr. Bowling lived in Belgium, where he had access to the museums of Western Europe. On his return to the states, he attended the University of Kentucky where he received his BFA in sculpture and a BA in art history. In 1996 he moved to Greenville, North Carolina, to pursue an MFA in sculpture at East Carolina University in 1999. He has been working out of his Greenville studio ever since. Mr. Bowling has shown extensively in the Eastern United States, which has resulted in a number of long-term lease agreements and sales to municipalities and private collectors.
- Handicap Accessible:
- Street Parking:
- Parking Lot:
- Motorcoach/RV Parking:
- Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm
- Family Friendly:
- Pet Friendly: Pet Friendly Outside Only
- Pet Friendly: