Spring is here, and butterflies have been popping up all over the place, especially in downtown Greenville. These butterflies aren’t fluttering around flowers, though; they are decorating light poles, private homes and businesses with their metal wings.
Local artist Yuri Tsuzuki is creating steel butterflies honoring cancer survivors in the Upstate in partnership with the City of Greenville Arts in Public Places Commission and the Cancer Survivors Park. This project is being completed in phases, and the first step has been to install the butterflies on Duke Energy electricity poles, streetlights and other public places. Tsuzuki and the Cancer Survivors Park requested permission and assistance, and the Arts in Public Places’ nine-person commission dedicated $15,000 of their $75,000 yearly allocation to the project. The money assists with fabrication of the butterflies and installation.
Tsuzuki is also partnering with private property owners.
“Individuals can make a donation to the park in honor or memory of someone and a butterfly will be placed,” said Tracy Ramseur, development coordinator for the Economic Development Department and staff contact for the Arts in Public Places Commission.
These supporters of the Cancer Survivors Park become “butterfly keepers,” with a $500 donation. Butterfly keepers will receive a metal butterfly to display in their yard. Companies and organizations can also join the cause with a $1,000 donation for a large butterfly, and $15,000 for multiple butterflies. Proceeds from these sales will benefit the park.
Ramseur said the department did not make a big deal of the butterfly installations in the hopes that sightseers would notice them and wonder what they meant.
“We thought it would be more interesting for people to ask about them,” she said.
Most of the public butterflies are placed on the east side of Main Street downtown, leading to the Cancer Survivors Park.
Once the park is complete, the third phase of the project will begin with the creation of the largest sculpture by Tsuzuki. This sculpture will grace the center of the park with tons of multicolored butterflies.
Following installation, the art is donated to the city and remains under its care.
For more information, visit greenvillebutterfly.com.