By Bryan C. Hanks / Managing Editor
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 19:58 PM.
The steel “hands” come together, holding the planet. The treasure the sculpture protects is one that will be opened in 50 years — showing future generations of Kinstonians and residents of Lenoir County what life was like in their home from 1911-2012.
A beautiful stainless steel and granite sculpture now rises about 10 feet above Centennial Corner at the corners of King and Herritage streets, above a time capsule that holds artifacts from Kinston and Lenoir County collected from the past century.
A ceremony dedicating the sculpture and time capsule was held Tuesday afternoon at Centennial Corner. The sculpture was the vision of Stephen Hill, the philanthropic businessman whose efforts have helped dramatically reshape downtown Kinston over the past decade or so.
“Art is a big part of my life and a big part of the life of my family,” Hill said. “It’s great to give back something to the community that’s such a beautiful piece. It’s public art and it’ll be here for decades to come.”
The piece was sculpted over the past three months by local artists Hanna and Jodi Jubran.
“I’m so glad the Hill family is making Kinston better every day,” Jodi Jubran said.
The significance behind the sculpture is special, Hill said.
“For hundreds of years, Kinston has sent things like cotton and tobacco into the world,” Hill said. “The hands are holding the world here; we’re going out into the world, but the hands of this community hold it all together.”
Photos and documents from the 100 years of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce are in the time capsule, including special copies of The Free Press over the past century. There are also pieces and memorabilia from important Kinston businesses and organizations, including Lenoir Memorial Hospital, H. Stadiem and the Caswell Center.
“To me, one of the most interesting pieces in the capsule are the original copies of the Chamber minutes,” said Jan Parson, the director of special projects and events for the Chamber.
Kinston Mayor Pro Tem Joe Tyson greeted the 50 or so people at the rainy ceremony before turning the proceedings over to Arts Council Director Sandy Landis, who introduced the sculptors and the Hill family.
After the ceremony, Tyson said Tuesday’s was a historic ceremony.
“A day like this, along with the 250th anniversary, shows Kinston is moving forward,” Tyson said. “We have a grand history we should be proud of. Looking at our history, we see we should be able to continue to do grand things for another 100 years. This is a milestone and a great accomplishment of this city and this county that has every reason to move forward.”
Gracyn Murphy, Parson’s 4-year-old granddaughter and the daughter of Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, clung tight to her grandmother while photos were being taken after the ceremony. Parson said she is excited about Gracyn — and the other dozen or so children who witnessed Tuesday’s ceremony — being in attendance at the capsule’s opening in November 2062.
“She can say, ‘I was here when it was buried and I was here when it was opened,’ ” Parson said. “Imagine how interesting it will be for her.”
Bryan C. Hanks can be reached at 252-559-1074 or atBryan.Hanks@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at BCHanks.