Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp



Public Art Wows in Rock Hill's Old Town

Posted 5/17/2010 2:23:00 PM
As I walked up Rock Hill’s Main Street recently, passing cute new restaurants and galleries, I suddenly stopped in my tracks. On the lawn in front of me sat five large, wooden faces stretching 25-feet up into the sky.

The faces are a public art project called “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” by artist Patrick Dougherty, who specializes in weaving saplings and sticks together to create large-scale installations. Unlike museum pieces that are kept safely behind glass, this piece -- like much of Dougherty’s work -- is designed so you can actually walk into the sculpture and experience it from the inside. In the case of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” the mouths act as doorways and inside, the eyes act as skylights.

Dougherty spent three weeks on Main Street building the piece with help from volunteers from Rock Hill’s Winthrop University. Inspired by his love of nature and his knack for carpentry, the artist began working with tree saplings in the 1980s and since then has created more than 200 of these installations worldwide.

Inside one of the heads, I looked up and saw a slice of blue through the skylight. Then I saw an angry little bird poke her head through the hole and squawk at me. It’s true; the beautiful workmanship of the woven saplings does resemble a nest. This little bird obviously thinks she’s hit the jackpot.

Ain't Misbehavin' is located at the Community Performance Center (CPC) on 249 East Main Street in Old Town Rock Hill. For more information about Dougherty’s work, visit