Earl Dismuke: Outdoor Public Sculpture Exhibition

March 19, 2022


Starkville - Main Street and University Drive

The Department of Art in collaboration with the City of Starkville introduces the first-ever outdoor public sculpture exhibition in the City of Starkville.

Residents and visitors to Starkville can see four works by Mississippi artist Earl Dismuke at the following locations around town: the Main Street roundabout outside City Hall, the outdoor plaza at the MSU Innovation Hub, Fire Station Park, and in the Cotton District.

The outdoor public sculpture program was organized by the Department of Art Galleries and the City of Starkville with generous support from the Starkville Area Arts Council (SAAC), and the Starkville Visitors and Convention Council (VCC).


Three logos in a row

Metal sculpture painted yellow standing outdoors.
Toro, 2020; welded steel, found objects, and paint; H: 120”x W: 60”x D: 48”


Metal sculpture outside a building.
Stand Tall, 2022; welded steel.

This piece is meant to radiate feelings of confidence and control while drawing the viewer’s eye upwards towards the sky.
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Statue of a metal sculpture painted blue in an outdoor park.
Big Dreamer, 2022; welded steel, found objects, and paint.

​​​​​​Big Dreamer is a piece comprised of found objects, often called fabrication drops. The repetitive nature of the circular shape is obvious. A circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It can represent eternity, timelessness, movement, and God. The image of an eye at the top of the sculpture refers to the eyes as the gateway to the soul and often represent seeking knowledge and focus. “There is no passion to be found playing small- in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living,” Nelson Mandela.
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A metal statue painted pink in an outdoor shopping plaza.
Molly Ringwald, 2018; welded steel and paint; H: 144”x W: 72”x D: 36”

Molly Ringwald was created in the weeks leading up to the birth of Dismuke's fourth child. Rings are a universal symbol for relationship and commitment. The rings are welded together in the abstract form of a mother holding her child, symbolizing the connection between a mother and child. The artist intended to paint the piece a bright purple, but the final result was a beautiful pink. When Dismuke brought his wife out to his studio to look at the finished piece, her first reaction was "It’s Pretty in Pink!"
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According to Dismuke, "My compositions are influenced by things I am experiencing in my current season of life, such as goals, relationships, joys, fears, family, and faith. My work tells my story, but I like to leave enough ambiguity in the work that the audience can make their own interpretations. By inviting the viewer to interpret what the work means or what the artist was thinking, the viewer is forced to bring something of themselves into the work. I believe this binds the artist and the viewer."

Dismuke's interest in art began at an early age. He was always creating, searching for new things and ways to entertain himself. He later attended the University of Mississippi, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture. On a trip to Chicago, Illinois he was inspired by the public art placed around the city. "Growing up in rural Mississippi, I had never been exposed to public art on that scale. I returned home inspired to transform my home state of Mississippi into an art destination." From that inspiration, Dismuke co-founded the Yonka Sculpture Trail, a bi-annual rotating outdoor sculpture exhibition of 18-20 large scale pieces of work from artists all over the nation.

Dismuke's work has been included in several international and national exhibitions, including the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition, New Orleans, LA, The Walter Anderson Museum, Ocean Springs, MS, The Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS, Scope Basel in Basel, Switzerland, Lima, Peru, and most recently the Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery at Mississippi State University.