October 20, 2010
Fisher Stolz, Bradley University’s preeminent sculptor and associate professor of art, teaches students that his profession offers rewards both tangible and intangible. Stolz’s latest masterpiece, unveiled in the Peoria Civic Center Tuesday, falls into both categories.
The nine-foot-tall piece constructed of limestone and steel was expertly crafted in the artist’s hands over the course of several months, and will serve as a visible, enduring testimony to Bradley’s commitment to the Peoria community.
The sculpture sits on the 4th floor of the Peoria Civic Center, outside the Ballroom, a location whose characteristics featured prominently in Stolz’s design. Even the arcs that support the Civic Center inside and out are reflected in the sculpture’s exaggerated lines. (Details about the design)
Video: Fisher Stolz - "Event"
“Mr. Stolz is, of course, one of the most respected artists in the area, working in a medium that is very compatible with the design and character of the Great Hall space,” said Rebekah Bourland, representing the Peoria Civic Center Authority. “We were delighted to have the opportunity to acquire his work, which was specifically created with the Great Hall in mind.”
Looking at the sculpture’s smooth lines and perfectly fitted elements, it’s hard to imagine the grunt work and heavy machinery behind its construction and transport from Bradley’s campus to the Civic Center. Stolz recalled his mixed emotions as an overhead crane gingerly lowered the carved stone onto the trussed legs. An accidental slip would have caused irreparable damage to the stone.
“It was exciting, and a little scary,” said Stolz, who said every project comes with unforeseen challenges. “You just have to think creatively while continuously building on and modifying existing knowledge.”
During an unveiling ceremony on the Civic Center site where “Event” stands, Stolz answered questions about the process of conceptualizing and creating the piece, and invited everyone to touch the magnificent structure. Bradley President Joanne Glasser was there to explain the intangible fruits of Stolz’s accomplishment.
“At Bradley, we prize innovation, creativity, and collaboration. In fact those are the values at the very heart of our mission,” said Glasser. “So we are extremely proud that one of our own artists and faculty members has created a work of art through this collaborative commitment with the arts community.”
The commission was made possible by a grant from the Taylor and Corrine French Fund/Fine Arts Education and the Eugene and Harriet Swager Fund for Public Art Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois.