Showcasing local talent through unique sculptures

Conner Lott of the welding class at Chester County High School is working on on of the guitar sculptures. The sculpture’s unveiling event will be held in Spring 2021.

Several local organizations and individuals have come together to honor the community’s musical and artistic talent — both past and president — with unique sculptures. Those partnering on the 2021 Henderson/Chester County Recycled Sculpture Project include: Chester County High School, TCAT Crump, Chester County Solid Waste Department, Keep Chester County Beautiful, City of Henderson and Mayor Bobby King, Henderson/Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Henderson Arts Commission, and TDOT Beautification Office.
Chester County High School welding students and their instructor, Derick Gibbs of TCAT Crump, have been constructing two eight-foot-tall sculptures of guitars made from recycled metal since January 2021. One of the guitar sculptures will be installed in downtown Henderson’s Sue Shelton White Park to be enjoyed by community members and visitors. The sculpture’s unveiling event will be held in Spring 2021. The second sculpture will be donated to Chester County’s Imagination Library. It will be auctioned to raise funds for the organization that provides free books to Chester County children from birth until age five.
The recycled or reclaimed metal used for the sculptures is being donated from Chester County Solid Waste and county residents. Solid Waste Department and Keep Chester County Beautiful Education Coordinator Misti Pequignot asked community members via social media to donate items, such as hammerheads, sprockets and gears.
The collection box for these project supplies was set up at the Henderson Solid Waste Convenience Center on Talley Store Road. “The concept for the project was that community members would donate materials and then be able to see and recognize their items in the sculptures. The sculptures will be a visual representation of our community, with many individuals coming together to form a whole,” Pequignot said.
The 2021 guitar theme was chosen by project partners to pay tribute to the community’s talented musicians and artists — both past and present. Country Music Hall of Fame member Richard Edward (Eddy) Arnold is best known among those who have made a musical impact from the area. Born in Henderson in 1918, he came from a large farming family, which later helped influence his stage name, the “Tennessee Plowboy.” Alongside the community’s guitar sculpture, a Tennessee Music Pathways Marker for Arnold will be installed at Sue Shelton White Park May 14.
The Recycled Sculpture Project builds on the success of the Chester County Recycled Metal Sculpture Contest, sponsored by Chester County Solid Waste (in partnership with TDOT’s Beautification Office) the past two years with TCAT/CCHS welding students and Gibbs. “The contests’ results were fantastic and extremely popular within the community and across the state. We knew the caliber of Chester County students’ talents and wanted to showcase them in front of a broader audience,” said Pequignot. Several past winning sculptures are displayed outside of the Observation and Education Classroom at the West Tennessee Regional Recycling Hub in Henderson.
The Recycled Sculpture Project’s long-term vision is to make it an annual event and construct multiple concrete platforms with anchors around the City of Henderson and City Parks. The additional platforms will allow the sculptures to be interchangeable throughout the city.

Caleb Smith works on a sculpture that will be displayed in the Sue Shelton White Park in downtown Henderson.