Campus Receives Gift of Huge Soaring Seahawk Sculpture: 20-foot Wingspan

by May 22, 2009

UNC Wilmington's Soaring Seahawk sculptureA huge Soaring Seahawk sculpture was installed today, Thursday, May 21, 2009, on the campus of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Faculty, staff, students and community members turned out to witness the installation of the flying copper Seahawk, or osprey, which has a 20-foot wingspan.

The sculpture, designed and created by Wilmington metal sculptor Dumay Gorham, is believed to be the world’s largest depicting a Seahawk, which is the university’s mascot. The sculpture and its base weigh 2,000 pounds, its height is 10 feet from base to highest point and its length is 6 feet from beak to tail. Thousands of copper feathers have been painstakingly welded to the sculpture to give it a realistic look. Hundreds of hours of work over a year’s time went into the construction and finishing of the copper sculpture and its base.

The sculpture journeyed by flatbed truck Thursday morning from Gorham’s downtown Wilmington art studio to the campus, where it was installed in the center of a traffic in front of the university’s oldest building, Hoggard Hall. The circle has now been named Ike Belk Plaza, in honor of Irwin “Ike” Belk, the Charlotte philanthropist who commissioned the sculpture as a personal gift to the university.

No UNC Wilmington or state funds were used for the project. High resolution photos of the installation as well as the entire creation process of the sculpture are available.

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