Topiary artist brings unusual art form to campus



by Sean LaPlaca

An artist who has used his talents through topiary, the cutting of plants into different shapes and sizes, will give a presentation Tuesday evening in the Worsham theater.

The Student Activities Board is hosting Pearl Fryar, a man said he used a love for topiary and award-winning yard to challenge popular notions about race.

“Fryar’s work is a personal story of success in an unconventional way,” said Amanda Rambo, director of the Student Activities Board’s Cultural Arts Committee. “Students will learn about Fryar’s efforts to change the notion of the art as an area not solely for the elite.”

Pearl began creating fantastic topiary pieces in his yard in 1984 as part of an attempt to win the “Yard of the Month” award for his town of Bishopville, South Carolina.

Fryar decided to try for the “Yard of the Month” award because he lived in a “black” neighborhood outside the city limits in which none of the residents ever got the award. According to the website,”He knew he had to do something different, something a cut above average, to attract the judges, not only those of the yard of the month competition, but those who had judged him by the color of his skin and had assumed he ‘wouldn’t keep up his yard.'”

Fryar’s yard became a topiary wonderland that is visited by guests from around the world. Fryar’s website describes his yard as “Dr. Seuss meets Edward Scissorhands.”

Mark Costagliola, a forestry freshman, expressed his interest in Fryar’s presentation. He said topiary ” adds a different element of nature. It makes something that’s already beautiful more beautiful”.

Jamie Hallman, a psychology senior, is excited to know more about Fryar as well.

“I have a chance to listen to someone who can make a difference in peoples lives through plants,” Hallman said.

“The World of Topiary” event will take place at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday in the Worsham Theatre.