Kannapolis receives donation of two public art sculptures

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (WBTV) – Cheryl and Eric Dearmon donated two public art sculptures, “Smiley” and “Discover” to the city of Kannapolis. The two sculptures are already in the City and were loaned by artist Tom Risser. With their purchase, the Dearmon have ensured that the sculptures remain in the city as permanent public works of art.

“The donation of these two works of public art is a continuation of the precedent set by Dr. Harold Cook and his family and by Lynne and Wally Safrit, who have already donated sculptures to the City. It is our desire that these gifts highlight the wonderful revitalization that is happening in Kannapolis. We hope that all citizens enjoy the parks, greenways, art, concerts, events, etc. that our city offers, ”commented Cheryl Dearmon.

“We are very fortunate to have exceptional leadership from our municipal staff and elected officials as we continue to grow. These are the citizens who benefit the most from our growing city and I hope they will continue to support this growth and become more involved in the city as volunteers for boards, commissions and events ”, Eric Dearmon continued. “We hope these donations will lead others to donate to the City’s public art program.

“Art is a vital part of any community. It stimulates conversation, creativity and pride in our community. We are very grateful for this important donation from Cheryl and Eric and the many other ways they are contributing to our city. Their involvement with many nonprofits in the city and county has been invaluable over the years, ”said Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant.

Cheryl and Eric Dearmon are from Kannapolis. Cheryl is currently Vice President, Branch Manager for Uwharrie Bank. She has worked in the banking industry for 35 years. Eric is Senior Vice President, Private Financial Advisor for Truist Investment Services. He has been a financial advisor for 39 years. Both are very active in the community. Their involvement includes board positions for United Way, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, CMC Northeast Hospital Foundation, Crime Stoppers, Kannapolis Education Foundation and Downtown Kannapolis Inc. for n ‘ to name a few.

“Smiley” is located on West Avenue and is already one of Kannapolis’ most popular sculptures. Her welcoming face greets everyone with her whimsical expression and features. Kids and adults alike love to hug him and take selfies with him.

The second sculpture is located in the village park near the fountain and embodies the city’s brand, “Discover healthy living”. This piece is also ten feet high. It features symbols of peace, love and health.

North Carolina artist Tom Risser created both pieces in stainless steel. Risser created the piece “Discover” after visiting the City and admiring the work done to revitalize the downtown area. “It’s amazing how vibrant the downtown core of the city has become in such a short time. Everywhere you look you see people walking, running or riding a bike. New businesses are opening up. The energy here is an inspiration to me and I wanted to capture that with the sculpture, ”said Risser.

A daytime engineer Tom is president of US Bottlers Machinery Company in Charlotte. He graduated from Guilford College with a math and engineering degree and an electrical engineering degree from North Carolina State University.

Twenty years ago, he started taking leftover materials from his company’s products and turning them into sculptures. As a self-taught artist he has experimented with many different types of medium including fused glass, polycarbonate, stone, paints, shotcrete, and photography.

Now an award-winning sculptor, you can find his work in many cities, galleries, private collections, and businesses across the United States.

In 2016, he had a heart attack and subsequently a heart bypass surgery. Since then he has incorporated hearts into many pieces of his work. Hearts are sometimes very visible and other times they are hidden.

He is also known for his other hobby, skateboarding. He is the creator of many local skateboarding facilities including WXW Sk8, The Blair Witch Ramp, Whip Snake Park, and Tom’s Bowl. It has been featured on HGTV, Offbeat America, ESPN: Tony Hawk’s Giant Skatepark Tour and Carolina Traveler. He and his wife, Daisy, have a son, Sam, and a daughter, Carson.

For more information on all of the City’s public art, visit


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