Six SUNY Fredonia students inspired by the rich history around them are combining their own artistic strengths to create bronze sculptures in honor of local historical events.
The students recently invited the OBSERVER to see phase two of a three-phase process.
Senior Gina Sacino showed the step-by-step process to ready her sculpture for bronzing.
OBSERVER Photo by Jasmine Willis
SUNY Fredonia student Gina Sacino pours in the rubber mixture as one of the final steps before bronzing. The rubber mixture is poured over the clay mold and has to sit overnight. Afterward, wax is melted and poured over the rubber mold.
OBSERVER Photo by Jasmine Willis
Left to right, front row: SUNY Fredonia student Gina Sacino, senior, sculpture; back row: Dani Brooks, graduate, art, history and ceramics; Shauna Beckstein, senior, sculpture; Emily Breedlove, junior, sculpture; Matt Corrigan, senior, animation illustration; and Miles Thompson, senior, political science.
Sacino pressed clay around her mold to keep it secure, then created a container to place around the mold in order to hold the rubber mixture. She then placed Vaseline around the inside of the container to keep debris from getting inside the mold, mixed the rubber ingredients together to pour into the container, then submerged the whole mold into the rubber mixture before finally allowing it to sit until it is ready for the wax.
Sacino admitted the process is time- consuming, forcing her to wait the entire night before adding the wax mixture.
"The wax comes in strips," she said. "We melt it down and pour it into the container; allowing it to sit overnight."
Coordinator Miles Thompson hopes to have the bronze sculptures ready for public viewing by May.
"It is very good to see things take shape," he said. "They are a good group of talented people and this is something they will all be remembered for."
He likes the idea of a small town being noticed and people being proud of their history.
"I can't believe I did this," he said. "This is something I'll feel proud of."
Thompson envisions many people taking part in the bronze sculpture tour in the spring.
"They will take notice that the college is a part of the town," he said. "I really do expect a lot of people to be interested in it."
Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe wants to keep the sculptures coming.
"I would like to keep this going; we have a lot of history in Fredonia," he said. "I have two more years in office and I would like to see this expand."
Keefe told the six students he "owed them big-time."
"If you need anything, let me know," he told them. "If you want letters of recommendation or me to make phone calls, I am right downtown."
Senior Shauna Beckstein is creating the gas light company sculpture.
"I used the emblem of the department of public works trucks," she said. "It is pretty interesting history and I am really excited to see it in bronze."
Sacino is creating the 2012 Olympic Torch sculpture.
"I chose to create the 2012 version because two people from Fredonia participated in the 2012 Olympics," she said. "The research was really fun, and although there were a few bumps in the road, everything is going real well."
Graduate Dani Brooks is creating the Fredonia Opera House Stage sculpture.
"I decided to just make the stage instead of the whole opera house," she said. "My best friend is an opera singer and I always thought the stage is beautiful."
Junior Emily Breedlove is creating the Women's Christian Temperance Union sculpture.
"I chose to put their symbol with the initials WCTU written on the sculpture," she said. "It will go on the drinking fountain in the village and be placed across from the First Baptist Church; they had their meetings there."
Senior Matt Corrigan is creating the Mark Twain sculpture.
"I have always enjoyed Mark Twain as a person," he said. "I took photos of him and drew sketches from the photos; hope it gets noticed and respected by people."
The idea is to place the sculptures with lighted signs so people can read the history and bios of the artists along with the sculptures, even at night.