“Let’s go see half of a giant.”
“Half of a giant what?”
“Just trust me.”
That was Saturday morning at my house. My wife and I woke up, looked out at the gorgeous sunshine and decided we should enjoy some outdoor time. We grabbed a camera and set out for the Blue Loop at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
The Blue Loop is a mile-long walking and biking path that winds through the museum’s 164-acre Raleigh campus, connecting the Museum Park to the Capital Area Greenway System. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina sponsored the Blue Loop as part of the company’s Get Outside, North Carolina! (GO NC!) initiative meant to encourage North Carolinians to leave the house and experience our state’s wonderful outdoor spaces.
Capital Area Greenway Volunteers – coordinated by the Raleigh Police Department and the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department – keep an eye on Raleigh’s greenway trails, including the Blue Loop, for safety, security and maintenance. This volunteer brought a friend along on his patrol.
This smokestack near the start of the Blue Loop is a relic from the days when the grounds were a prison for juvenile offenders. As we walked the Loop, I pondered the irony of young people being imprisoned in what is a truly beautiful space.
“Coming on your right!” Cyclists are quick to give a courteous heads-up as they pedal the Loop.
The Blue Loop winds through wooded areas and open fields, but I think I like the forested parts the best. The limbs leave some gorgeous shadows on the path.
Art lovers will get their fill of exhibits along the Blue Loop. This artwork by Martha Jackson-Jarvis uses bricks from the old youth prison.
The open areas along the Loop are great for bird viewing. We saw a red-shouldered hawk carrying a meal back to its nest.
I know what you’re thinking: Sure, the Blue Loop sounds great. But does it have a chair up in a tree? Yes, it has a chair up in a tree.
Art is a very personal thing. Some of it resonates with us and some of it doesn’t. Ledelle Moe’s steel-and-concrete “Collapse I” – the half-giant we came to see – is one of my favorite works. I love it, and I won’t even try to explain why.
Artist Vollis Simpson’s fascination with wind machines dates back to his time stationed on Saipan in World War II. His aptly titled “Wind Machine” is perhaps the most visible artwork on the Blue Loop.
The Blue Loop is located on the grounds of the NC Museum of Art at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh. Take Route 40 to Wade Avenue and exit at Blue Ridge Road.