ST. JOSEPH — At 5 p.m. Tuesday, a new sculpture by Detroit artist John Sauvé, “Vergangenheitsbewältigung,” will be dedicated at the Margaret B. Upton Arboretum in St. Joseph. ARS Gallery/Arts and Culture Center donated the sculpture to the city of St. Joseph.
At 5:30 p.m., at Krasl Art Center, there will be a free panel discussion, “IMPACT: Public Sculpture in Southwest Michigan,” open to the public at the Krasl Art Center.
It will explore concepts of public art in the community. The guest speakers will be Anna Russo-Sieber of ARS, and public artists Richard Hunt and Sauvé. Krasl Deputy Director and Curator Tami Miller will moderate.
“St. Joseph and Benton Harbor have been called the best little sculpture community in the USA,” Miller said in a news release. “As part of the community, these artworks and memorials are a source of community pride. They beautify our neighborhoods and make them unique.”
A Chicago native and graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hunt has created sculptures that can be found in numerous museums and collections worldwide, including at the Modern Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Museum of American Art.
He has served on the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution, and was appointed to the Board of National Endowment for the Arts.
Hunt has strong ties to Southwest Michigan through his studio in the Benton Harbor Arts District. He created “And You, Seas,” located where the St. Joseph River meets Lake Michigan at Silver Beach County Park, and “Rising Crossing Tides” for the Krasl.
Sauvé is a Detroit native who has earned national and international recognition for his large-scale public sculptures and for his support of arts education in the communities where he exhibits his work.
A graduate of Michigan State University, he oversaw the installation of public art as part of the Michigan Commission on Art in Public Places. His work has included Man in the City, a sculpture project comprised of 40 sculptures located on rooftops of prominent buildings throughout Detroit and Windsor.
In Southwest Michigan, he’s left his mark in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor in the form of 16 sculptures as part of the I Am The Greatest project. Sauvé created the sculptures in the likeness of Muhammad Ali, who had a home in Berrien County.
“The I Am the Greatest project creates a metaphor for working through adversity, and inspires the viewer to take notice of their surroundings and encourages people to look around,” Sauvé said in the release.
ARS partners with Sauvé to present educational programming for at-risk youth as part of the I Am The Greatest project. Since 2012, it has helped hundreds of youth learn about community and public art, and to express themselves through introspective writing, creating and artistic media.
“Using John’s public art, this project introduces Mr. Ali to a new generation of kids,” Russo-Sieber said. “His story highlights the overwhelming amount of adversity he faced by standing up for his beliefs and the influence he had on his generation. As a result of telling this story, we hope to inspire a new generation to realize that they can make a difference.”