On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the Country Oaks Garden Club celebrated the culmination of a yearlong philanthropy effort for the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. The club, which has been active for 27 years, presented the local charity with a sculpture and donation of toys for its newly expanded facility and spent the morning making door decorations for guest rooms at the house.
It all started with the small idea to plant some daffodils at RMH Chapel Hill, but the plan quickly blossomed into a full-scale service project through a serendipitous series of events.
The group learned about RMH Chapel Hill’s current expansion, which includes a large courtyard full of gardens and complete site landscaping, and saw the opportunity to do more. The perfect alignment of their love of gardening and a real need from RMH Chapel Hill motivated the club to commit to a planting installation at the front of the house and a large donation of toys for the new playroom.
Club members wanted to include a sculpture in the garden design, so they started the difficult search for a piece that could be donated. A chance connection with local artist Mike Roig eventually solved their problem, though. Roig, who creates kinetic metal sculptures that can be seen outside his studio on Main Street in Carrboro, had a piece in mind that was the perfect solution.
Roig created the sculpture Louise’s Whirled for a longtime customer, Louise D. Stone. When she passed away in 2011, her family returned the artwork to Roig for him to sell, but they agreed to donate the piece for the RMH Chapel Hill project when he brought up the idea to them.
“Louise was very involved in the local community and arts nonprofits, so I it’s fitting that she has a permanent presence here at the Ronald McDonald House and can bring beauty and art to the guests,” said Roig, at the sculpture presentation event.
The sculpture, with its halo of steel birds that move with the wind, will be placed in the front garden and will welcome guests to the beautiful new Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill and to a small piece of Louise’s “whirled.”