returns to celebrate 25th anniversary of Wilson Park castle
KATE WARD, Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2005
in Wilson Park is a place where many children forget about television
and video games. It's a place where imaginations run wild and creativity
marked the 25th anniversary of the structure, formally known as
Point 7 Castle. The event coincided with the 2nd Annual Art in the
Park. Frank William, who designed the castle, attended the celebration
to commemorate his work of art.
tenure in Fayetteville began in October 1977 at the age of 30. He
had been making art his entire life. In the fall of 1978, he was
accepted by the Arkansas Arts Council as one the first nine artists
to participate in the Crafts Apprentice Program. It was largely
funded by the Civil Education and Training Administration and became
known as the Arts and Crafts Apprentice Program. Williams said the
program was designed to teach youth skills for future employment.
At the beginning
of 1979, the Arts Council devised a broader plan and implemented
a competition for the realization of public works to be installed
in various location across the state. Wilson Park was the first.
"I was fortunate to win one of the positions for a design of
a grotto to be constructed in a wooded area just west of where Point
7 Castle stands today," he said. "However, in late April,
the parks board met with me and thought it would be more appropriate
to enhance the existing springhouse on what would be the future
site of the castle."
said the springhouse was an eyesore and the stream coming from it
was choked with weeds. He had less than two weeks to come up with
an alternative design. "The existing concrete structure over
the spring was reminiscent of a small play fort," Williams
said. "It was used by the local kids for just that purpose
and I thought what better solution to this challenge than a fantasy
play castle sculpture garden?"
At the time,
Williams said the city had many budget concerns and was unable to
guarantee any maintenance for the project other than cutting the
grass. "I felt that to the best of my ability, I would build
something durable, but in faux decay," he said. "New,
but reflecting antiquity, and hopefully it would be miraculously
enhanced by wear, tear and vandalism as it reverted to nature."
first week of June 1979, Williams and five apprentices broke ground.
In July 20, 1980, the castle was finally completed. "It became
very popular immediately," he said. "We couldn't keep
the kids off it, even before construction was completed."
address delivered 17 September, 2005 for 25th anniversary celebration
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, 2005
Frank Williams recalls construction of Wilson Park Castle, BY SARAH
Community Celebrate 'Point 7', BY AMY M. COTHAM