The National Center for Children’s Literature has commissioned two statues from an ACU professor for the annual children’s literature festival.
Geoffrey Broderick, associate professor of art, was asked to cast the sculptures into bronze for the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival in June.
“Every summer, the festival connects with the NCCIL and the author to select one or more subjects from their art to make the sculptures,” said Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university and chairman elect for the NCCIL. “This is going to be the Fourth Annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival, featuring David Shannon.”
The first sculpture features a boy feeding biscuits to a dog. The hollow statue is cast in parts, Broderick said, and mounted to its base after the separate characters are finished.
The boy is made of several pieces welded together, but the seams still need to be ground down. The dog is mostly one piece, currently a wax mold encased in a ceramic shell. After the wax is removed, liquid bronze can be poured into the shell to create the statue.
The second statue is a duck riding a bicycle and has not been started yet, Broderick said.
Broderick said while his students don’t work on the details of the sculptures, they are allowed to help him pour the metal and break the molding off. During the detailed processes, he brings out the parts and explains them to his students.
“It’s good to have students somewhere around seeing what’s going on,” he said. “It lets them see if that’s something they’d be interested in down the road, and it also lets them see that there is a life after college in art.”
This is the third year Broderick has cast sculptures for the festival. He said he was asked in 2012 to cast a bronze statue of Seymour, a character from Walter Wick’s book Can You See What I See?
“In the books, he looks sort of plastic, so the NCCIL has plastic versions colored yellow and red and blue,” he said. “But they wanted this one to be more neutral with a classic bronze.”
Broderick said the statue, which is currently in his workshop for cleaning, was one of the trickiest casts he’s ever done.
“I had to string the pieces on like beads,” he said. “They didn’t want to see any of the welds on the joints.”
His previous statues from William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood are on display downtown near the NCCIL.
“For me, it’s great,” he said. “I’m able to stay busy constantly with my work, teaching and doing these commissions. I’m always very mindful of keeping ACU at the forefront – I’m an ACU professor doing this work.”
The Children’s Art and Literacy Festival will take place at the NCCIL, the Grace Museum and the Abilene Zoo in June.