Since 1927, Swan Lake Iris Gardens has represented the best of Sumter’s beauty and tranquility. It’s hard to find anyone who grew up in the community who doesn’t have fond memories of the city’s largest and most beautiful public park. Inspired by these memories, renowned sculptor Grainger McKoy created “Recovery,” a dramatic eighteen-foot sculpture that was unveiled to the public on May 1, 2010.
The magnificent stainless steel statue represents the wing of a pintail duck in flight. As the artist describes it, “(this is the) wing position that is considered the weakest in bird flight, yet in the artist’s eye is the position with the most beauty and grace. All of us are in recovery somewhere in our lives, as is our environment, of which Swan Lake is a unique part.”
The wing itself measures 14 feet in height and weighs approximately 1,500 pounds. Working from Mr. McKoy’s design, Paul and Robert Beaty completed the rough wooden model. It was then hand-carved and detailed by Mr. McKoy, and finally cast at a Pennsylvania foundry. Set in a disappearing fountain in the midst of a sidewalk and decorative wrought-iron fencing surrounded by Japanese iris beds, the statue commands a panoramic view of Swan Lake’s Heath Gardens.
Grainger McKoy has achieved a worldwide reputation as a wildlife artist, and his incredibly realistic bird sculptures have found homes in many private collections and public buildings. “Recovery” is his first-ever outdoor installation, and adds a special, unique touch to the black-water pond that has been beloved by three generations of citizens and visitors to Sumter. Sumter Mayor Joseph T. McElveen, Jr., remarked, “Grainger McKoy—his art and his life—is a credit to Sumter. I am proud that we are able to display the genius of this Sumter native at our ‘crown jewel,’ Swan Lake, for all of his neighbors and all of our visitors to see.”
The sculpture was made possible through the generosity of the Williams-Brice-Edwards Charitable Trust, the Friends of Swan Lake and the City of Sumter. Swan Lake Iris Gardens is open daily from 7:30 a.m. until dusk, and admission is free. For more information on the gardens and Mr. McKoy’s “Recovery” sculpture, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Swan Lake Visitors Center toll-free at 1-800-688-4748 during business hours, Monday-Friday from 8:30 to 5 p.m. For more information on the artist, please see his website at www.graingermckoy.com . Full 30 minute documentary DVD available for puchase for only $10.00 by contacting the Swan Lake Visitors Center.