Along downtown Woodstock’s Noonday Trail, just outside The Reeves House Visual Arts Center, sits an effervescent work of art by world-renowned metal sculptor Jim Gallucci of Greensboro, North Carolina. Ear Worm, a bench seat with whimsical curlicues in a deep maroon color like pomegranate seeds, looks like a bus-stop bench that collided with Dr. Seuss trumpets. A playful and whimsical whisper tube has an earpiece and mouthpiece fixed at each end, irresistible to much of the trail’s foot traffic. Passersby feel compelled to stop, sit a spell, and have fun talking to the person sitting beside them.

How Ear Worm Inched Its Way to Woodstock

Ear Worm was installed in summer 2022 as a temporary exhibit, part of The Reeves House public art two-year-loan program. The artwork will be returned to Jim this summer unless the city of Woodstock or another interested party purchases it. The piece is one of a series of benches Jim has created that are installed throughout the country, including in our nation’s capital and cities in California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

Benches have been a major focus for Jim, which he believes serve as a science lesson, counseling tool, and work of art, all in one. Even a short conversation with Jim reveals how the joie de vivre in his art comes straight from his soul. His whimsical benches vary from a vibrant yellow sunflower bench to a beautiful memorial bench with giant red poppy whisper-tube features. While each is an individual piece, the predominant theme is reminiscent of a simpler, happier world.

Ear Worm Bench by Jim Gallucci of Greensboro, North Carolina | Photo Credit: Madison Beaulieu/City of Woodstock

The Ear Worm Bench by sculptor Jim Gallucci of Greensboro, North Carolina (Photo Credit: Madison Beaulieu/City of Woodstock)

Nicole Lampl, director and curator at The Reeves House, chose Ear Worm for the city of Woodstock because of its interactive element that invites visitors to engage with the artwork and fosters playful interaction. The artistic bench is a peaceful place to take a seat under the shade of a tree and watch the world go by on the Noonday Trail.

Woodstock resident Delanie Tondera passionately advocates for Ear Worm and public art. She says public art installations provide the community with a unique opportunity to interact with art and potentially broaden their understanding of what art can be.

A group of children crawling all over the Ear Worm bench on a beautiful Thursday afternoon this spring had the best endorsement for Jim’s work when asked what they thought of the art: “It’s not art; it’s fun!”

About the Artist

Jim Gallucci found his passion and lifelong vocation in sculpture in October 1969. In addition to a bachelor of arts degree from Le Moyne College, he holds a bachelor of fine arts degree and master of fine arts degree in sculpture from Syracuse University. He has won an impressive list of national and international public art commissions and prizes for his often-interactive sculptures. In addition to his original works, Jim also offers restoration and repair services.

Jim’s recent creative focus has been on the symbolism of doors and gateways. He sees these elements as more than just functional objects; to him they represent the paradox of access and exclusion. One of his most emotionally impactful works is The Gates, a memorial to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Jim and his team traveled to New Jersey to obtain sixteen tons of steel from the fallen World Trade Center and then created a sculpture from the recovered metal that depicts two gates. Jim says the piece “symbolizes passage—emotional, physical, spiritual—from one space of consciousness to another.”

Other pieces among Jim’s vast portfolio honor veterans, historical figures such as Rosa Parks, and even America’s favorite pastime: baseball.

 

 

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