Sara Balbin – Dragonfly Studio, Drummond, WI » Art Gallery

Wisdom Heralding Peace

On June 22, my most recent public sculpture commission, Wisdom Heralding Peace was unveiled at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth,MN. The installation is within the three story tall Benedictine Commons atrium of the new Science Center recently completed as part of the campus’s 2012 Centennial Celebration.

Wisdom Heralding Peace

There was a bit of serendipity in the invitation I received to present the design concept that was awarded the commission. One of the Benedictine Sisters on the Centennial Sculpture Committee had discovered my art work while visiting the Cable, WI area. Cable is home to nearly a dozen public sculptures I have created over the years. Her discovery of my art work led to a committee invitation received in November 2010 to present a design concept for the 2012 college centennial celebration.

Dozens of artists were considered for the commission and the list was narrowed to the final four. The four finalists were asked to create a scale model for an hour long presentation to the committee. As a finalist, I was honored to be selected to create the Centennial Celebration sculpture for the new Science Center that at the time was still in the process of being constructed. One of the most memorable moments in the process was when I learned via a telephone call that the commission had been awarded to my design.

Sculpture scale model

Throughout the process, under my guidance, over sixty five people were linked in an artistic connect the dots to help create the sculpture. I extend my sincere thanks to the many supportive team members who trusted my vision and worked as a team along the artistic journey of creating Wisdom Heralding Peace.

The sculpture was fabricated with the technical assistance of the talented professionals at Northland Stainless in Tomahawk, WI. They had been technical partners on my very first stainless steel public sculpture commission, Dragon’s Flight at the Cable Natural History Museum, some fifteen years ago. It was wonderful reacquainting myself with their facility and staff as we problem solved throughout the fabrication to create the full size sculpture from the conceptual model I had created.

The talented crew at Northland Stainless

The image is fabricated from one quarter inch stainless steel and weighs nine hundred fifty pounds. The figurative sculpture stands nine feet six inches with a width that varies from twenty inches in diameter at the base to forty inches in diameter at the widest part of the shoulders. In total when adding eighteen inches for the rock base the sculpture is well over eleven feet tall.

The Duluth Blue Stone rock base was selected from among the many landscape rocks on The College of St. Scholastica campus. The three thousand pound rock was moved into place before the new Science Center building was completed. After the rock base was put in place, it was cemented into the building floor before the walls were up and roof put on the building.

The commemorative plaque that accompanies the sculpture contains these descriptive words:

I am humbly honored at the trust placed in my artistic vision by my patrons. To see an idea become a conceptual conversation that led to a simple line drawing and a scale model that became sculptural reality in such a wonderful public setting is most rewarding.

I give special thanks to the members of the College of St. Scholastica, the Centennial Sculpture Committee, the Benedictine Sisters and supportive donors of the College who worked through the process from beginning to end. Gracious thanks is also due to the many technical partners, installation support crew, building engineers, maintenance people, friends and family who provided assistance and encouragement along the creative journey.

My hope is that Wisdom Heralding Peace will inspire artistic conversation, beneficial learning and peace for hundreds of years to come.

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