What does it Mean to be a Gig City? Using the Gig to Inspire the Arts

Whirligig Photo

This post by Will Aycock, Operations Manager for the Greenlight Community Broadband in Wilson, North Carolina, is written as part of our ‘Spotlight City’ series. For more features on Wilson, check out this case study and see this blog post.

Designing a future with bits of gigs – Whirligigs, to be precise – means something to Jeffrey Currie, Repair and Conservation Manager of the City’s new world-renowned Vollis Simpson outdoor Whirligig Park, Currie is rebuilding massive, wind-driven sculptures moved from a farm in the county. The vision is to use this wind powered art to help drive the city’s economic future with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS and Mathematics).

“Yeah, we like to use that word STEAM more and more.” laughed Currie, as he displayed the hand-held tablets that inventory the intricate pieces of this gargantuan machine. “We needed to know what the Whirligigs looked like before they were taken apart.” Greenlight connected Currie’s warehouse to its Gigabit network. “We take high-resolution photographs of the sculptures before they are disassembled, scan older images of Vollis’ work and just upload them to Drop Box.”

Vollis Simpson photoCurrie described these large uploads like he was flipping a switch. “It’s quick,” he said, without thinking about it. “We’re burning out the computers, not the internet,” quipped Don Davis, who takes photographs and does much of the uploading for the collections section. Greenlight’s upload speeds facilitate the rebuilding of this important economic driver in seconds instead of months.

“The media constantly focus on the download part of the broadband equation, but if your business handles information at any level, your business is really all about the upload,” said Will Aycock, General Manager of Wilson’s Greenlight system. “The thrust of Greenlight is captured by our three guiding principles,’ said Aycock. ‘Supporting the economic health of the community, improving the delivery of city services, and enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Wilson. This is our gig in Wilson.”

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