Library Installs Book Themed Sculpture

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The Maury County Library is the gateway to the Arts District and now home of the District’s newest public art display. Artist and sculptor Cory Ricaurte-Whelan generously donated this original metal sculpture to the Library. The work features a larger than life teacup with colorful flowers emerging from stems that seem to move like steam blooming with open books and petals of pages. The sculpture can be seen on the corner of W 8th and S High St. in Columbia, TN and is a wonderful addition to the library and the Columbia Arts District as well. The public art installation is the latest initiative at the Library to display art in the community.

Mr. Ricaurte-Whelan shared more about the sculpture, and his creative processes, with us:

You come from a creative family – can you share a bit about your family, and what it was like to be surrounded by creative people growing up?

Some of my earliest memories were driving with my parents and little brother Saturday mornings to exhibitions across the state of Florida. They started creating full time when I was very young, so art and traveling have always been a part of me. Creativity was always encouraged in everything I did. 

When did you begin sculpting? How did you get into it?

I began sculpting when I was around 12 years old. I began making gifts for my friends and family with the resources that were available to me, steel. Starting by choice, I fell into it and began creating more and more. 

What does your creative process look like?

My process always starts with an idea, and then a few sketches. I can’t draw very well, but I know that if I can sketch it, I can create it. I enjoy scouring Google’s Arts & Culture Sculptures page for hours, finding inspiration and new artists to learn from. 

If you had to describe the art you create in a tweet (128 characters) how would you do so?

The art I create is unique, handmade, and for anyone and anywhere. Inspired by nature and larger than life. 

What’s the inspiration for your sculptures? 

My art is inspired by my interests. Although I have reached out of my normal style, my signature style is natural and botanical. I have around 20 plants and love keeping them happy and healthy. I propagate my own, but I do have a few from COPE in the Columbia Arts Building. 

Is there specific inspiration for the sculpture you’ve created for the library?

At first, I was going for a storm of books coming out of a teacup or mug, inspired by some of my favorite childhood books and movies; Alice in Wonderland, The Pagemaster, The NeverEnding Story. I ended up leaning back a little into plants and came back up with the design that’s now in front of the library. 

Do you have other pieces in fixed locations? If someone wanted to do a Cory Ricaurte-Whelan sculpture tour, where would they have to go?

Most of my art goes to private collectors as of now, but I am in talks for another sculpture outside of the city hall, as well as the Sculpture Fields in Chattanooga. I have other fixed pieces at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens in Port St. Lucie, Florida and in Naples, Florida. 

Do you have other work that is for sale? How would someone see it/get in contact with you?

I have a limited, rotating inventory of new unique designs, as well as popular designs. I have pictures of my past work on my website,, or you can email me at

Learn more about Cory Ricaurte-Whelan and see some of his other work on his website: