Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A pair of large-scale metal sculptures — in which young students played a part in the designing — arrive at the Kenan Center on Monday and will be officially unveiled Friday afternoon.
The sculptures were the result of an idea inspired by a frequent exhibitor at the center.
Lockport artist and hat designer Wendy Gibson, who was a familiar exhibitor at the center’s annual Holiday Gift Show, passed away last November from cancer. She died just prior to the November Gift Show in which she was scheduled to exhibit her work.
Gibson’s family took her place at her booth, and offered the proceeds to the Kenan Center to fund an arts program for children. Kenan Center officials used those proceeds to fund a hands-on sculpture building program for children through the Ashford Hollow Foundation (Griffis Sculpture Park, near Ellicottville) and Essex Street Arts Center.
After proposing the idea to Gibson’s son, Aaron, and with additional funding provided by the Grigg-Lewis Foundation, a two-week residency in July became a reality.
The “Whimsical Large-Scale Sculpture Project,” which took place during the weeks of July 9 and July 16 was free to children ages 8-12. Nine children participated the first week; 14 in week two.
Under the supervision of teaching artists Zack Boehler and Sarah Fonzi of Ashford Hollow, the young artists designed and constructed their own miniature sculptures in metal, and watched the process of cutting the metal into shapes that they then colored and assembled into 3-dimensional works of art. In addition, the children contributed ideas for the design of two large-scale sculptures that weree constructed at Essex Street Arts Center.
Gibson’s son Aaron said that the gift to fund the project was the perfect way to honor his mother who loved crafting.
“I have very vivid memories of my mother’s pursuit of everything creative and how her projects were a way of overcoming difficult times,” said Gibson.
Susan Przybyl, executive director of the Kenan Center, said that the financial gift for the sculpture project was a remarkable gesture by the Gibson family that will have a long-lasting impact.
“Not only will the children who participated in this project benefit from their creative experience, but the resulting sculptures will be a tribute to Wendy Gibson’s passion for creativity,” she said. “Perhaps Wendy’s story will inspire others to support similar programs that will give the young people of our community opportunities for creative expression.”
A public ceremony to unveil the new sculptures will take place on Friday at 5:30 p.m. A reception will follow in the Kenan Center Taylor Theater Meeting Room.