Jane DeDecker's final casting of her monumental bronze sculpture "YMCA" will soon grace the entry of The Ottawa YMCA in Ottawa, IL. Pictured here is the sculpture in clay in Jane's Studio when she first sculpted the piece in 2006. For this placement the family donating the sculpture to the Y have requested a modification to one of the portraits to capture the likeness of their daughter. These commemorations make what we do that much more special. The sculpture will be placed in 2024.
In November, the City of Little Rock installed National Sculptors' Guild Fellow Jane DeDecker's Portrait of Daisy Lee Gatson Bates in Little Rock, AR.
The bronze bust of the civil rights activist, Arkansas NAACP president, and pioneering black journalist (1914-1999), is situated in Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Park in her former hometown. The portrait is just one acknowledgment of Bates’ legacy in the river town which also boasts a Daisy Bates Museum, several named streets, and a “Daisy Bates Day” celebrated the third Monday of February every year. The bust also includes a plaque with a quote by the human rights advocate: “When hate won’t die, use it for good.” The outdoor sculpture walk winds along the Arkansas River and includes over 90 works of art in its collection. The Bates sculpture is near the Main Street overpass on the Eastern side of the art garden.
update 5/20/22: The bust and plaques have been cast in bronze and shipped to Little Rock. We will update with photos once the city has installed the memorial.
10/15/21: National Sculptors' Guild Fellow Jane DeDecker has been selected to sculpt Daisy Bates for placement in the City of Little Rock, Arkansas. The honor to portray such an important figure is a true highlight.
The life-sized bronze bust will be accompanied by a wall of bronze plaques featuring quotations by the great Civil Rights Activist.
The public display of her image and words will serve well to inspire next generations to take her lead to end racial injustice.
"I have been truly inspired and deeply moved by the strength and dedication of Daisy Lee Gatson Bates. She turned tragedy into her life's work in fighting against prejudice, segregation, and inequality. Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was a formidable woman who would not stand down." - Jane DeDecker, NSG
The commemorative placement will be completed in 2022. Updates will be posted here.
Daisy Lee Gatson Bates
Mentor to the Little Rock Nine
Advocate for Equality
About Daisy Lee Gatson Bates...
Daisy Bates was an elegant woman, physically small, though grand in stature when her determination to end racial injustice was involved. She confronted racism and adversity from an early age. Personal confrontations led to speaking out and heading large organizations; providing great change for the state of Arkansas, and beyond.
No one prepares to be the face of change for a nation, Daisy Bates took on her role with grace and fortitude. Unwaveringly, she rose to all of the challenges, her diminutive body seemingly too small for the power she exuded. Small but mighty, Mrs. Bates informed and organized Arkansas' Civil Rights movement.
Her resilience to the fear tactics used gave her a reputation of calm in the face of adversity. Jail time, fires on lawns and bricks thrown through windows seemed only to make the fight more just and purposeful.
Though Mrs. Bates is most known for her involvement in the Little Rock Desegregation Crisis of 1957, her contributions etch far deeper. The weekly newspaper that she and her husband published helped inform and activate civil rights movements across the state, and beyond, before and after the integration of Central High School. From 1941 to 1959 the Arkansas State Press was one of the only newspapers solely dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement.
She was known to publish controversial articles that others shied away from. Daisy Bates worked with local Civil Rights organizations including joining the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1952. For many years, she served as the President of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, providing support to many opportunities for the black community, assuring her role in the 1957 desegregation efforts.
She was well respected in the community, even her opponents had to admit she was a force to reckon with. Her repose during crisis after crisis kept the forward motion of the Civil Rights Movement going; and her tenacious charge afforded generations of students access to their constitutional rights.
Public Art Installed at Fire Station 33
Public art for the new Fire Station 33, 4109 S. 134th East Ave., has been installed this week, and this commissioned work, titled “Protect,” is available for the public to enjoy.
The 6-foot-tall, stainless steel sculpture is near the flag pole and public parking lot on the west side of Station 33. The Arts Commission of the City of Tulsa chose the design team of Joe Norman and the National Sculptors’ Guild for this project.
According to the National Sculptors’ Guild, this sculpture, fabricated at Joe Norman’s studio in Loveland, Colo., is intended to “activate the site and signify the exemplary service of firefighters in a single, free-standing sculpture.”
“The Arts Commission is very impressed with this artist,” Commission Chair Pam Deatherage said. “It’s an interactive piece that changes as you walk around it. Tulsa is very fortunate to have initiated, in 1964, a program where art is provided as part of the project budget - the 1% funded public arts ordinance - to include creative pieces on display at our public buildings.”
Standing on a 1,650-pound sandstone base, the sculpture has red letters spelling the word “Protect,” visible from one direction. Two other perspectives show the gray silhouette of a firefighter. Also according to the National Sculptors’ Guild, the final side, opposite “Protect,” is “an abstraction, symbolic of the unknowns that firefighters face.”
“To have the word “Protect” in fire-engine red strengthens what this word means to those in service and the community it serves,” said John Kinkade, director of the National Sculptors’ Guild.
Norman describes his work as “creating public sculptures that show different images or words depending on the viewpoint of the observer.” Norman said, “I believe that having multiple ideas coexist in a single piece is a useful metaphor for the ecosystem of ideas that public art empowers and protects.”
Joe Norman and the National Sculptors’ Guild installed the art with help from Tulsa subcontractors. “Sculpture is a team sport,” Kinkade said. “Thank you, City of Tulsa, the Arts Commission, Tribble Stone, Voy Construction, Barnhart Excavating, American Pipe Bending, Landstar System, and the community of Tulsa. We are so proud to be part of honoring firefighters through this art placement.”
A public hose uncoupling ceremony for Fire Station 33 was held in September. Hose uncoupling is a fire service tradition similar to a ribbon cutting ceremony. Funding for this new fire station has come from the 2001 Third Penny Sales Tax and the 2013 Improve Our Tulsa sales tax. The Public Safety Sales Tax, which was approved in 2016 with the Vision Tulsa sales tax, has provided funding to hire more firefighters to fully staff this new station. - City of Tulsa, Nov. 16, 2022
Update 11/9/2022: Fire Engine red paint has been added and the sculpture has been set in its cradle, the stone has been drilled (thanks Tribble Stone) and everything is ready for transport to Tulsa.
Our project with the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma is all but ready to install. Some Fire Engine Red will complete the look.
Just a few more weeks and Joe Norman’s firefighter sculpture “Protect will be in its new home at Fire Station 33. Stay tuned for pics of the install.
Update 9/23/2022: Barnhart Excavating poured the footing for "Protect" at Fire Station 33 on a blue-sky day in Tulsa.
Update 9/15/2022: Things are really growing. we're about half way through the fabrication phase.
Update 9/1/2022: The monument isn't ready yet, but "Protect" was at the dedication of Fire Station 33 in a small way. The maquette was present during the celebration, and even made it into the hands of the Chief. We couldn't be happier with the initial response and are also feeling great about our red matching the engine. #NailedIt Congratulations on your new Fire Station, Tulsa!
Update 7/6/2022: Our project with the @cityoftulsa for their Fire Station 33 is taking shape. We are very excited to see Joe Norman’s firefighter sculpture “Protect” develop. Engineering is complete and Joe has created the final maquette. Full-size enlargement is next.
Update 2/9/2022: Our project with the @cityoftulsa is finally underway. We are very excited to see Joe Norman’s firefighter sculpture “Protect” develop from the concept design to the study you see here. We will keep you posted as it grows.
"I’ve been chasing down public art projects to honor service workers. Specifically those who put themselves at risk so that we may have a more healthy society: physically, mentally, and socially." -Joe Norman
6/9/2021: Joe Norman's "Protect" is earmarked for placement in front of the City of Tulsa's Fire Department 33. The 6-ft tall stainless steel sculpture depicts the silhouette of a firefighter from one angle, and the word protect from another. The National Sculptors' Guild's proposal of Norman's work was selected from an open call to artists to place "Protect".
Our initial approach for this site is to place a free-standing sculpture from Norman's word play series activating as much of the site as possible. The iconic sculpture will be fabricated from stainless steel,
with one side painted in durable epoxy paint to tie into the building's aesthetic. The first thing that comes to mind for us when thinking about a fire-fighter is the word "Protect" so that word is viewed from one direction. The other perspective shows the silhouette of a fire-fighter approaching their call to action. Opposite the word is an abstraction, symbolic of the unknowns that fire-fighter's face.
JK Designs’ Principal, John Kinkade, founded the National Sculptors’ Guild in 1992 with a handful of sculptors who wished to find thoughtful public applications for their work. Representation has since grown to over 20 contracted sculptors and painters; plus an extended network of 200+ artists that our design team works with on a regular basis to meet each project's unique needs. click here for a list of our over 500 large-scale placements.