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The Cutting Edge

Posted: October 1, 2010 12:16 p.m.
Updated: October 1, 2010 12:17 p.m.

Self-taught topiary artist, whose carved bushes and trees have drawn visitors from all across America and overseas to his Bishopville garden, will speak at the South Carolina State Museum Saturday, Oct. 9 as part of the museum’s annual Fall Heritage Festival and Pickin’ Party. His talk will follow the 2 p.m. showing of the acclaimed documentary of his life and work, “A Man Named Pearl.”

He’s been called “the real-life Edward Scissorhands” and celebrated for the journey that led a sharecropper’s son to international acclaim as a self-taught artist.

His three-acre garden in Bishopville is a whimsical world of trees and shrubs pruned and shaped into fantastic objects and sculptural forms alongside fascinating metal sculpture he calls his “junque art.”

He is topiary artist Pearl Fryar and he will be a special guest at the South Carolina State Museum’s Fall Heritage Festival and Pickin’ Party on Saturday, Oct. 9.

His uplifting story was made into a captivating, intimate documentary that will be screened at 2 p.m. in the State Museum’s auditorium. In 2006, the Heartland Film Festival honored “A Man Named Pearl” with the Crystal Heart Award for Best Documentary as well as the Audience Choice Award. Since its debut, the film has played to great acclaim all over the country, sparking a wildfire of interest in the garden itself and the man who started it.

Visitors from all 50 states and Europe have made the trip to Fryar’s garden, and the publicity and attention have done wonderful things for the community of Bishopville as well, of which the artist is very proud.

Following the movie, Fryar himself will speak to the audience about his life and his work.

“There’s always going to be obstacles. The thing is, you don’t let those obstacles determine where you go,” he said.
In addition, a photograph of Fryar can be seen on display in the museum’s Lipscomb Art Gallery in the exhibit Palmetto Portraits: Images by Contemporary South Carolina Photographers.

The Fall Heritage Festival and Pickin’ Party begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Unless otherwise noted, outside events are free of charge. Events inside the museum are included with museum admission or membership.

For more information, call (803) 898-4952 or (803) 898-4982, e-mail, or visit the Museum’s Web site at


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