David Benson, The Acorn
David Benson is a metalsmith and sculptor. After moving to Raleigh in the 1970s, he began making silver jewelry in his home and later opened a jewelry store on Hillsborough Street. In 1986, he moved his studio to the newly established Artspace. He currently owns The Third Place coffee shop in Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood.
In 1991, Benson was commissioned by the City of Raleigh to create The Acorn in honor of Raleigh’s 1992 Bicentennial. Located in Moore Square, The Acorn is 250 times the size of a regular acorn and is made of steel and copper, some of which came from the dome of the original Capitol building. The Acorn weighs 1,250 pounds, is 10 feet high and 8 feet in diameter, and is dedicated to Raleigh businessman John Watkins, who provided the inspiration for the sculpture. Every First Night in Raleigh, The Acorn is dropped during the countdown to the New Year.