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Art sculpting

A second career in art sculpting proves profitable for former farmer.
Gary Dolan, Trenton, Missouri, creates stainless steel windmills that are 30-foot-tall kinetic sculptures.
Gary's sculptures range in height from 15 feet to 30 feet.

Wind spinners

The landscape that surrounds Trenton, Missouri, is typical of the Midwest; it's a patchwork of farm fields, sections of native prairie, and a winding river west of town bordered by thick timber.

It's a landscape where one expects to see an old-time windmill, the kind that farmers once used to supply power and bring up water for their stock. And 5 miles south of Trenton, a tall structure brings that image to mind.

But, wait. This piece is different than any windmill farmers once used. It's a 30-foot-tall, stainless steel kinetic sculpture topped by a spinning globe, the creation of former farmer and current artist Gary Dolan.

Ellen Dolan, Gary's wife, says the wind spinner attracts so much attention, they often find people have stopped to view, firsthand, this unique creation. They've even seen people eating their picnic lunch beside the spinner and often find notes of appreciation and compliments in their mailbox.

The spinners have proved to be a second career for the couple. Gary makes the sculptures and Ellen manages the business details. They have sold wind spinners to people in states as far away as New York, Colorado, and areas in between. The spinners are also on display at the Powell Botanical Gardens in Kansas City, Missouri.

Learning to weld

As a young man, Gary learned one of the most important skills he now relies on to make his unique sculptures. "My uncle was a welder, and he taught me how to weld. We started out with an arc welder, then an acetylene welder. There was something about welding that fascinated me," says Gary.

He used the welding during his farming career for equipment repair and maintenance. He bought a MIG wire welder several years ago, which he now uses on his sculptures.

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