Spying a fascinating array of whimsical birdhouses along his property, I rang the bell to Art Lituchy’s door. When Art appeared, tall and lanky, dressed in jeans and wearing a wide smile, he reminded me of a cross between a Greenwich Village artist and a senior Clint Eastwood character from an old Western.
You may not know Art Lituchy, but you have probably seen some of the colorful flyers he has designed for various groups in Fearrington, including many for Fearrington Cares. He is also responsible for the glass-enclosed announcement cabinets in the mail kiosks throughout the village.
Born in the Catskills of New York, Art doodled a lot as a kid, wanting to become a cartoonist. Consequently, he studied graphic art at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan, like alumni Tony Bennett, Calvin Klein, and Henry Wolf.
Evidence of Art’s creative nature spills throughout the light-filled house that he shares with his wife of 61 years, Rhoda. Upon entering their house, I was greeted by a child-sized statue, carved from cedar branches, of a young boy reclining on a hallway table and holding a dish of candy—real candy. A total of eight of these amazing sculptures, all given personal monikers and all with stunning blue glass eyes and sporting sneakers or sandals, are posed in action throughout the house. A few of my favorites were named Two Brothers Saving a Bird, Huck Fishing, and Candy Man. Another favorite: a young woman, Eve, accompanied by her dog Adam. Each of the eight sculptures has some small imperfection created by nature and saved by Art.
I wanted to know how and when Art discovered Fearrington Village. After being trained as a graphic artist, he moved to Long Island and eventually opened his own graphic design business called Admakers. Decades later, contemplating retirement, he and Rhoda traveled around the country, looking at destinations as far away as Arizona, but were drawn to this part of North Carolina with its natural beauty and excellent medical facilities.
Art and Rhoda chose a house in Bradford Place and then immediately set about orchestrating artistic upgrades and enhancements. Rhoda has a gardening shed that would make any gardener drool, and Art had a woodworking studio built where he designs his projects.
A 17-year resident of Fearrington, Art is passionate about supporting local artists. Many of the stunning pieces that adorn the walls of their house came from local artists they met in their travels. My favorite was the huge life-sized sea tortoise that appears to be swimming on the wall. Looking at the tortoise, I asked him to sum up his perspective on life. His answer: “I may have gotten old, but I’m still a kid at heart.”
I bid Art and Rhoda good-bye, but he reminds me, with a grin, of the up-and-coming movie nights sponsored by Fearrington Cares, a continuation of the original Film Club, where Art is Popcorn King.
Interested in learning more? Check out some of Art Lituchy’s award-winning projects on his website at www.birdhousesbyart.com.