Chaney grad sculpts art from shrubbery


YOUNGSTOWN

Michael Gibson found his niche sculpting foliage into art. Now he wants to introduce horticulture and topiary to students at his alma mater.

Topiary artist Gibson, owner of Gibson Works Property Art LLC, graduated in 2005 from Chaney High School. He recently contacted Chaney Principal Robert Kearns to discuss starting a program to teach students about horticulture and the art of topiary.

To get students excited about the program, Gibson offered to design the two arborvitaes in front of the school, next to the 9-11 memorial. He will be working on the shrubs starting at about 9 a.m. Monday. The artwork will be ready when the students return to school Tuesday.

“I want to give back to the community and the students there,” Gibson said.

He remembers walking up Chaney’s front steps those early days of his freshman year, feeling nervous and intimidated. He hopes to alleviate some of that anxiety for those who attend the school now.

“If they walk into the school seeing something beautiful, it will help make it a place they want to be,” Gibson said.

He’s eager to share his skills and knowledge with Chaney students.

“Some of them probably have never heard the word and don’t know what topiary is,” Gibson said.

But Gibson isn’t alone in his plan to give back. After he talked to his friends about it, they wanted to help too. Clarence Howell, Dr. Wilson Okello, Lamar Sykes, Thomas Toney and the Rev. Carrington Moore, who along with Gibson are known as Branded in Brotherhood, donated mulch and rocks to help beautify the school’s entrance. All of the men are 2005 Chaney graduates.

Kearns, the school’s principal, said the project is significant on many levels.

“First, it is exciting to see our alumni using their gifts and talents to give back to the community. Even more exciting is that Mr. Gibson is going to teach students who are interested in the art of topiary. When our students can learn skills that can transfer to careers, it is a win for our students."

Gibson's accomplishments include being selected as the 2018 Artist of the Year at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens for his Diamond In The Rough exhibit, which is still on display in the Outdoor Gallery.

In 2017, his company received a CityScape Beautification Watch award. He has also done the Canfield Home and Garden Show, as well as the Great Lakes Garden and Flower Show.

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