Sunday, February 05, 2006

Well, It's not 'The Burghers of Calais'

After 15 years of community activitsm, I have worked very hard at staying 'out of the paper' and in the studio. Sometimes I can't resist. This week, when our city officials decided that a sculpture of James Brown needed to be put on a pedestal, I just had to write to one of my favorite reporters. I have loved the statue of James since I saw it in the artist's studio (Dr. John Savage) along with the Mayor and James. Even before it was cast, it was special. When it was placed at street level in a little park on our Broad Street, the people began to come for pictures. Now some of the very ones who did not want the statue want it on a pedestal. Unveiling The Statue link to Augusta Chronicle photo.

Sylvia Cooper who writes 'City Ink' for the Augusta Chronicle included my email in her column.
JAMES BROWN, UP OR DOWN?: Artist Annette Bush found it interesting that some Augusta commissioners want to put James Brown's statue on a pedestal.

She said she made the motion at the Downtown Development Authority meeting for funds to be used for the statue.

"It was my understanding that Mr. Brown did not want a pedestal because he wanted to be where the people are," she said. "That is where he is in Augusta - not on a pedestal, but down with the people handing out toys and turkeys, giving words of encouragement, giving back. One of the things people love the most is that they can stand next to the statue for their photos.

"Why doesn't someone just ask James?"

What a novel idea.

My orginal email also included this info: Doncha' love it?

A little art history lesson which is neither here nor there: One of the most powerful statues in the world today is Rodin's "The Burghers of Calais." There was great objection when Rodin did not put them on a pedestal -- all other heroes before this were on pedestals. Rodin wanted them to be down with their people.
The Burghers of Calais

I'm not equating James Brown with the Burghers of Calais, except to say that a statue does not have to be on a pedestal to be significant.

Sometimes politicians need to stay out of the people's business. And I guess, sometimes artists need to stay in the studio.

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