You can keep a bluesman down, but not out.
This week, after more than a year of painstaking restoration work, the sculpture of Pops Carter will be rededicated in its new home at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center (PAAC), located at 400 E Hickory.
The sculpture, which was created by Denton artist Christie A. Wood, was vandalized in September 2017 where it stood in its original home at Quakertown Park. It honors the late Tom “Pops” Carter, who called Denton his home during a decades-long career performing with the likes of B.B. King and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.
The restored Pops Carter statue has been enhanced by sculpter Christie A. Wood to include lighting and a base. Its new home will be in Festival Hall of the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center. (Photo courtesy of Greater Denton Arts Council)
Wood, along with assistance from the Greater Denton Arts Council (GDAC) and the City of Denton Public Arts Committee (who initially commissioned the piece), not only restored the severely-damaged piece to its former glory, but added additional lighting to really make the piece a center statement.
“Christie Wood enhanced it. Now, it’s a sculpture that can be lit,” said GDAC Executive Director Georgina Ngozi. “Rather than just bring it over without some acknowledgement, I thought it important to invite the community in to see it as it is today and to rededicate our commitment to the legacy of Pops. There are so many people who are planning to be here to celebrate the rededication and I am looking forward to this event.”
The rededication will be Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Festival Hall of the PAAC, with a reception from 6-8 p.m. It will include food, beverages and live music from “Friends of Pops”.
“You can’t even tell that it had been cracked and mangled. She has really put her heart into making it something that we can all be proud of,” Ngozi said, adding that the arts council plans to make the sculpture a feature piece within the building and use future programming to tell Pops’ story.
Although Ngozi, who has been at the helm of GDAC for just over a year, never met Pops, she has learned of his legend from those throughout the community, who see him as a unifying figure in Denton’s history.
“He was a man who walked among and throughout this community and performed with a variety of musicians. He used his ability as an artist – as a musician – to bring this community together,” she said. “I see the work that Christie did with him and I see him as this multicultural and colorful figure. To see him in this form, it’s something that causes you to be lifted and something that makes you want to celebrate his legacy.”