Utah sculptor’s work to be featured at Dallas Arboretum

Posted at 9:42 PM, Feb 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 23:42:40-05

SPRINGVILLE, Utah -- A Utah sculptor will showcase eight pieces of his work at one of the top botanical gardens in the country.

The statues will be displayed for six weeks at the Dallas Arboretum.

“I call them utilitarian sculptures,” Gary Lee Price said of his work. “The whole idea is they’re designed to be sat with, to be interacted with. I think sculpture goes much more than just something to look at. It’s something to touch, they’re tactile."

Price has been sculpting full time for 35 years. His current exhibit, The Great Contributors, connects interactive art with history.

It features life-size sculptures of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Claude Monet, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, the Wright brothers and Benjamin Franklin.

Dave Forehand, vice president of gardens at Dallas Arboretum, spoke about the display.

“Who doesn’t want to get their photograph sitting with Benjamin Franklin on a bench,” Forehand said.

Price said he hopes people get hands-on with his sculptures.

“I want kids climbing on here," Price said. "I want them coming up and feeling, what did Franklin look like and feel like? What was with those bifocals? And what is this key here? And what's that book, Poor Richard’s Almanac, what’s that about?”

The statues will be seated throughout the 66-acre garden in Dallas. There will also be special activities and programming built around each historic figure.

“I think we’ll have a lot of artists who are inspired to come out and paint the garden when they see Mr. Monet in full size out painting every day,” Forehand said.

Price said casting each sculpture is a lot of work once his original is done, and it’s a task that takes a great team effort.

“It goes from a rubber mold to a ceramic shell around the wax, the pouring of the wax,” Price said. “Getting all the pieces, doing the actual bronze pour, welding them all together, doing the patina, the final finish.”

But all that hard work hardly goes unnoticed.

“It’s just amazing the detail, it’s all hand done too, there’s really not much machinery at all involved, this is all done by hand,” Forehand said. “So it’s just remarkable.”

Price said displays like this are fulfilling.

“The most gratifying is when these pieces get out there, and I can be an innocent bystander just watching people interact with them," he said.

The statues will be at the Dallas Arboretum from February 27 to April 10. For more about Price and his work, click here.