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Renowned Topiary Artist Pearl Fryar to Lecture Feb. 26

Quick Facts

 Bishopville, S.C., topiary artist Pearl Fryar will speak at the open house/reception on Feb. 26.
 The event will highlight the "South by South Africa" series.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - On Feb. 26 at 2 p.m., Winthrop Galleries will host an open house and reception to highlight the "South by South Africa" series, and to give the community the opportunity to meet distinguished topiary artist Pearl Fryar. The reception and open house will be followed by a slide lecture by Fryar at 3 p.m.

Visitors to the open house will be able to view the "South by South Africa" series, which includes Catherine Anderson’s "The Children of Ixopo: Hope and Survival in a Time of AIDS," located in the Edmund D. Lewandowski Student Gallery, and "Beautiful Things: A Showcase of South African Crafts" and "Two Worlds Outside: Nukain Mabusa and Joshua Samuel" in Rutledge Gallery.

Fryar’s work most closely relates to Mabusa and Samuel. Each of these artists has worked to reshape their environments. While Mabusa painted the rocks that surrounded his South African home and Samuel built Can City around his home in South Carolina, Fryar worked to reshape the growth of the plants around his home in Bishopville, S.C. "All I wanted to do was have a nice yard and win the Yard of the Month award from my hometown," Fryar said. 

Never having heard of topiary art before, Fryar started trimming the bushes outside of his home in 1984. Working mostly at night after his shifts at the can factory, his neighbors soon began to take note of the fantastical shrubbery that covered his yard. As word spread of his unique work, more and more visitors began touring Fryar’s yard. Soon, the road to his house was widened to allow for tour buses and the heavy traffic that his beautiful plants attracted. 

Since his first cuts, Fryar’s desire to reform his yard has bloomed into national recognition. With trees and shrubs in whimsical coils and extraordinary shapes, his work has been featured in several national magazines and can be found throughout the state. From Simon Garden in Charleston to the State Museum to the Waffle House off of the I-20 Bishopville exit, Fryar’s unique topiary art spreads his message of peace, love and goodwill.

Tom Stanley, director of Winthrop Galleries, explained, "We wanted a voice to represent the here and now of this art movement. Fryar has such a warm, outgoing personality that this will be a great opportunity for students and the community to share in his art."

For more information about the open house and Fryar’s lecture, contact Stanley at or 803/323-2493.

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