"Minnie Evans was the gatekeeper of Wilmington’s historic Airlie Gardens from 1949 to 1974, and is considered one of America’s most important visionary artists. Evans’s take on color, mysticism, and symmetry made her garden-infused art unique. 'It was therefore an inspired decision,' Airlie Gardens Guild member Fred Wharton writes, 'to create the Minnie Evans Memorial Sculpture Garden—a garden within the garden, in the very place where she worked as a gatekeeper, where she experienced her visions, and where she created her art.'
"Local Wilmington artists got together after Minnie’s death to create this - a seventeen-foot-high, seven-sided chapel sculpted from thousands of glass bottles, cement, and metal armature designed by artist Virginia Wright-Frierson. To create a fitting memorial inspired the symbolism and elaborate designs found in Evans’s work, Wright-Frierson assembled a team of North Carolinians to interpret the artist’s themes in various media. The Bottle Chapel Artists were Virginia Wright-Frierson, Designer & Lead Artist; Karen Crouch, Dumay Gorham, Brooks Koff, Hiroshi Sueyoshi, Barbara Sullivan, Tejuola Turner, Michael van Hout."
-Fred Wharton, author of The Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens
I had not heard of Minnie Evans prior to our trip to Airlie Gardens, but this bottle chapel was breath-taking and the highlight of my visit to the garden.