Sunday, July 29, 2012

Photograph by S. David Gray

In March of 2006 Sidney and Ricki Gray while taking one of their repetitive and ongoing drives in downtown Greensboro noticed a “sphere” lying on the ground on property belonging to John H. Tasker, Jr. located at McAdoo and King Street in the Southside neighborhood. Ricki commented that this would make a great “Planet Earth” and thus was born the idea to recycle this sphere into a landmark work of art. John stated that this “sphere” was an air holding tank for an air compressor that came out of a Naval Ship and that he would donate and move it to a corner lot at South Elm and Lee Street owned by Sidney and Ricki Gray which is the Southern entrance to downtown Greensboro.

Brandon Gray next to
the future “Our Place in the World

Martha and Tony Forrest
Erik Beerbower with Greensboro sign.

In April of 2007 Martha Forrest spoke with Ricki and Sidney about how she could help implement their vision for the “Planet Earth”. She offered to “volunteer” her husband Tony Forrest as the artist who would draw the continents and the United States in particular. Martha also contacted Erik Beerbower who volunteered to design and make the crowning “Greensboro” that would sit on top of the Planet Earth.

Base and stonework by James Allred
Sidney Gray and Henry Cates sandblasting
Artist Tony Forrest sketching continents
Ricki Gray refines the continents
Ricki Gray painting Asia
Sidney Gray refines the continents

With the volunteers in place it was now time to begin the preparation of the base and the sphere. In June  2007 James Allred as a paid stone mason prepared the base for the sphere. In May of 2008 as one of the volunteers, Sidney Gray and friend Henry Cates sandblasted, cleaned and primed the sphere. Tony Forrest began the outline and painting of the continents in June of 2008. Ricki and Sidney finished the initial painting process.

Sidney Gray and Erik Beerbower
with Greensboro sign installed

We Made it Happen plaque installed on the base.

Sculptor/artist Erik Beerbower attached the “Greensboro” to the top of the Planet Earth in July, 2009. The refining and repainting of the Planet Earth continued through August of 2009 by Ricki and Sidney.  David Gray took the photograph of all the volunteers – Sidney C. Gray, Ricki G. Gray, Erik Beerbower, Tony Forrest, Martha Forrest and John Tasker, Jr. in front of the Planet Earth. On September 27, 2010 the “WE MADE IT HAPPEN” plaque was attached to the base of the Planet Earth.

The Planet Earth Volunteers want to make it known that this Landmark did not take any public funds and was completed by the above mentioned volunteers. The volunteers wish to acknowledge and thank the Old Greensborough Preservation Society for their generous financial contribution for supplies to the Planet Earth.

The Planet Earth is a continuous work of art. We welcome your thoughts, suggestions and help with the next phase.