Discovery Park of America Launches Temporary Outdoor Exhibit Featuring Large Sculptures by John Toras

Union City, Tenn.—On Thurs., July 2, 2020, Discovery Park of America unveiled “The Outdoor Art of John Toras: Man of Stainless Steel,” an outdoor exhibit featuring 20 giant sculptures, each with a different look and feel that are placed throughout the 50-acre heritage park. Curated by Discovery Park’s exhibits director, Jennifer Wildes, and grounds director, John Watkins, this is the first time this exhibit has been on display to the public.

Toras was born in Evergreen, Ill., and learned to weld in the Air Force. After working at Proctor & Gamble as a welder and sheet metal worker for 25 years, he retired to Marshall County, Ky., in 2006 where he still lives and works today.

Toras’s primary medium is stainless steel, and much of the material he uses comes from scrapyards in the area.

Many of the large-scale pieces in the exhibit feature sculptures that shimmer in the light and move with the wind.

“Blown Away” depicts a figure being transformed by the wind of the butterflies held in its hand. The concept was inspired by the line, “With the power of ten billion butterfly sneezes,” from the song “Higher and Higher” by The Moody Blues. Another piece, entitled “Heaven,” is a representation of Toras’s ever-changing perception of Heaven. He hopes this thought-provoking art will encourage viewers to examine their own individual beliefs. A third example of the art that can be seen in this exhibit is “Silver Star,” Toras’s attempt at replicating a brass horse figurine that once caught his eye. It is his most time consuming and heaviest sculpture to date, taking him six months to complete and weighing 1,065 pounds.

“Originally, John donated the piece called ‘Master of the Universe’ to Discovery Park,” said Wildes. “After seeing that piece and then visiting his studio and seeing his incredible work, I felt strongly we needed to share this work with our visitors this summer.”

The Outdoor Art of John Toras: Man of Stainless Steel,” will be on display through Oct. 5, 2020.

For more information, visit this link dedicated to the new outdoor temporary exhibit.

Photo Cutline: John Watkins, Discovery Park’s grounds director, and Richard Gibson, assistant grounds director, set up “Neptune’s Ride” on the south side of the 50-acre heritage park. This is one of 20 different sculptures guests will discover on the grounds.