I must admit it had been a while since I casually strolled through downtown Cary. Tuesday I took to the picturesque streets in search of 12 recently installed public outdoor sculptures which will adorn downtown Cary for the next 10 months.

Last weekend the sculptures were placed up and down Academy Street as part of the 4th annual Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition produced by Cary Visual Art. Being a juried show, the exhibition begins as a competition. The 12 featured artists were chosen from 62 applicants hailing from across the USA, many being local North Carolinians.

Head to Academy Street in downtown Cary and start your less-than-grueling trek at Town Hall where you can grab a map and proceed to inspect the five sculptural wonders that encircle the building. “Sandhills Voyager” is a giant bow and arrow, reimagined, involving bamboo and added color. “Two Whirleds II” employs the breeze to create movement among two revolving vortexes of steel birds. As you make your way along, take it easy strolling and grab a bite at one of the local eateries lining Academy. Pop in a shop or gallery. The area is charmingly old school and feels classically Southern and somewhat sleepy.

“Dreams of Flying” features an airborne house which could be straight out of the Wizard of Oz, except for the rusty but nevertheless powerful-looking turbo jet engines protruding from the cottage’s rear.

Outside the Post Office, resist the urge to make away with a giant elephant on wheels. “Pulltoy” is made of steel objects that may have been commandeered from what was once a bicycle or broken-down automobile.

Make sure to notice how each sculpture interacts with its environment, and in what ways each is appropriate for its specific location. “Elise” is a sexy feminine form that appropriately sits aside a bridal boutique, with an expansive, shady oak tree as a backdrop. From afar, it is all soft curves and delicately intricate surface, but upon closer inspection one notices the welded steel form is rendered from rusty nuts and bolts, sharp screws and other ragged unidentifiable metal parts. Ambiguity. I like it.

“Dapple” is a sculpture left in place from last year’s exhibition but seems just too perfect to remove. The horse-in-two-parts appears perfectly pastoral grazing green blades under a shade tree in front of a white cottage.

The Tour de Cary ends at Cary Arts Center, with two pieces sitting adjacent the building. Slip inside and grab a cultural calendar and check out the current exhibition. The Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition will be on view through June 2013.

Written by local Creative Genius, Katie.