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Architect of McMichael sculpture leaves legacy on campus

Local artist Horace Farlowe dies on 23rd anniversary of Pablo Picasso's death

Lauren Doxsey / Features Editor

Before entering the McMichael Science building, the first thing that attracts attention is the marble sculpture.  However, little is known about the sculpture or the architect himself.  Late architect Horace Farlowe is responsible for the creation, which was first installed on Elon's campus in 2000.  Farlowe passed away April 8, 2006.

Ironically, one of his inspirations, Pablo Picasso died on the same day in 1973.

"We are very fortunate to have a piece of art by this well-known and respected sculptor," said Mike Sanford, art professor.

A North Carolina native, Farlowe was always inspired by art, even as a young boy.

According to Farlowe's obituary, which appeared in The News and Observer and was written by his son, Vern, Farlowe felt compelled to draw even as a small child.

Farlowe studied architecture at North Carolina State University and later transferred to Atlantic Christian College in N.C.  He furthered his studies in graduate school at East Carolina University and specified his study of art to the subject of sculpture.

Farlowe experimented with the techniques of carving marble and thus continued to the remainder of his life.  In 1979, Farlowe accepted a teaching position at the University of Georgia and developed a stone carving program there which is still offered to this day.

Farlowe's son described his father as "a loving husband, a dedicated father, an inspiring teache and, a true friend, but he would want to be remembered most notably for his work."

How did Elon acquire such a tremendous sculpture then?

According to Sanford, Elon distributed a call for entries to sculptors from 13 states along the Atlantic seaboard in 1998 because Elon sought to commission a large scale sculpture for the newly completed McMichael Science building at the time.  A selection committee which included of faculty, staff and students was assembled in order to review the applicants.  Three finalists were then chosen from this pool.  Farlowe's design was chosen as the lucky winner from the finalists.

Farlowe's work was carved specifically from Georgia marble for the McMichael building.  Farlowe named this abstract sculpture the "biological egg rest."

"I find this sculpture intriguing," said sophomore Donna Webber who visits the McMichael Science building almost daily for classes.  "It is a very eye-catching piece."

Farlowe's project took him a full year to complete.  According to his son, Farlowe "literally ate, slept and breathed art" for the majority of his lifetime.

Farlowe and his carvings are great examples of a hard work.  According to his son, his sculptures are his way of giving back to the world.

According to Sanford, other examples of Farlowe's work may be found in public and corporate settings throughout the world including the prestigious Grounds for Sculpture located in Hamilton, N.J.

Farlowe's legacy is long-lasting, as there is a scholarship program for graduate students created specially in his name, the Horace L. Farlowe Sculpture Scholarship.

"April 8 now marks the passing of two great artists," said Farlowe's son.

Farlowe's memorial service will be held at the end of the month, on April 30 in Athens, GA.

Contact Lauren Doxsey at or 278-7247.

Photo courtesy of

Farlowe leans against one of his sculptures in Arberdeen, Scotland.

Lauren Doxsey / Photographer

Farlowe's sculpture stands tall in front of the McMichael Science building.