Giant troll coming to Raleigh’s Dix Park in a new arts initiative. A little one, too.

Hector El Protector, a giant troll made from junkyard pallets, holds a lantern along the shore to ward off hurricanes that would seek to damage the Puerto Rican island of Culebra.

Old Wise Woo received his name from a local volunteer who helped pick the scrap wood to build the troll, who plays a melody on whistling flute in the Pyunggang Botanical Garden in South Korea. He’s one of five “mountain trolls.”

And in the Colorado ski-town of Breckenridge, the troll Isak Heartstone once built a small tower of rocks, wooden toes in the dirt and wild tree branches sprouting from his head.

The trolls are the work of international artist Thomas Dambo. And he’s bringing two new ones to Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh.

“My mission is Waste No More: our world is drowning in trash, while we are running out of natural resources,” Dambo said in a media release. “I spend my life showing the world that beautiful things can be made out of trash. I give new life to discarded materials by turning them into large-scale artworks. My aim at the moment is to build 1,000 Trolls using recycled materials all over the world.”

His first trolls were created for the Danish music festival Smukfest a decade ago, and his collection has since grown to over 130 trolls across 20 countries.

Dambo will work with local carpenters and volunteers to build two trolls, one large and one small, in October 2025. These would be the first trolls in North Carolina.

It’s one of several new art initiatives launched by the Dix Park Conservancy, a nonprofit that partners with the city of Raleigh to raise money for the 308-acre park.

“At Dix Park Conservancy, we are committed to building and celebrating community, and nothing does that quite like the joy of experiencing art together,” conservancy CEO Janet Cowell said in a news release.

This troll, called Ben Chiller, was created by artist Thomas Dambo in Denmark in 2015. Dambo is bringing two trolls to Dix Park in 2025.
This troll, called Ben Chiller, was created by artist Thomas Dambo in Denmark in 2015. Dambo is bringing two trolls to Dix Park in 2025.

More art in the works

Attun reception: The latest artwork at Dix Park is the 18-foot tall, 150-foot long sculpture by DeWitt Godfrey. The arch features 80 steel cylinders and is near the recently renovated Stone Houses. A reception is set for 4 p.m. Friday in front of the houses, 800 Umstead Drive.

Poetry project with NC Poet Laureate: The Dix Park Conservancy is partnering with former North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green for a “public poetry project.” The Orange County native was the first African American and third woman to serve as the state’s poet laureate.

Artist Studio in Residence: The conservancy will partner with the city of Raleigh to create an artist studio in residence at the Physician’s House, one of the three Stone Houses in the park. The program will feature North Carolina artists interested in “environmental art, land art, environmental stewardship and working with natural materials and sustainable practices.” The program will begin later this year.