The Story Behind the Bronze: Rosa Parks Revisited
December 13, 2019
Cherrylion Studios, an Atlanta sculpture studio specializing in bronze portrait sculptures and other fine art, has created hundreds of custom bronze sculptures in Atlanta, Georgia, and beyond over the last 30 years. Despite the ever-increasing quantity, there are still pieces that stick out in our minds as memorable projects to take on. Each sculpture has a life story behind it that we’re happy to play a small part in telling.
Continuing the Conversation, the civil rights installation Cherrylion constructed for Georgia Tech’s campus, is an important piece not only for us, but for the city of Atlanta. Earlier this month, an exhibit highlighting Rosa Parks’ life beyond her bus seat protest opened at the Library of Congress. So, we thought it was the perfect time to revisit our bronze sculpture that depicts the famous civil rights hero.
The Woman Beyond the Bus Seat
Many people know Rosa Parks for her refusal to give up her bus seat in the segregated South. However, it’s important to acknowledge the civil rights movement that raged on as a result of her courageous protest—a movement that still survives today.
Cherrylion wanted the Georgia Tech campus sculpture to embody the 50-year span of the civil rights movement that Rosa Parks oversaw. Featuring two figures of Rosa—one at the time of her bus boycott, and one at the end of her life, the installation invites peoples to imagine the conversation between the two women and join the dialogue to continue making progress toward equality.
The Washington D.C. exhibit, entitled “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words,” makes a similar effort to showcase the woman behind the history and continue the movement she championed in a modern context.
If you can’t make it to the capital to witness the awe-inspiring exhibited, we recommend stopping by our bronze sculpture in Georgia Tech’s Harrison Square, right here in Atlanta, GA.
Sculpting a Prolific Legacy
It can be intimidating to be tasked with honoring a historical movement; however, it was the opportunity of a lifetime for the Cherrylion team and head sculptor, Martin Dawe.
The Sculpting Process for the Georgia Tech Bronze Commission
The bronze sculpture began as 300-400 pounds of clay and was sculpted into two iterations of Rosa Parks over six weeks. The Cherrylion Studios team then constructed a rubber mold of the sculpture, shipping it to a bronze foundry in Utah for casting.
Creating an Interactive Bronze Sculpture Exhibit in Atlanta
Dawe then worked with a quarry to assemble the granite elements of the installation—three chairs, one for each bronze sculpture of Rosa and one for passersby to sit on.
This interactive component of the installation was key in emphasizing the importance of maintaining a dialogue for social progress. Continuing the Conversation was unveiled on April 5th, 2018, with members of Rosa Parks’ family and Georgia Tech’s African American Student Union in attendance.
Continuing the Conversation from Atlanta, GA to Washington, D.C.
Events in history can often be thought of as stagnant and inconsequential to modern problems. The team at Cherrylion Studios in Atlanta sought to include people in the vital, ongoing conversation about civil rights with this interactive bronze sculpture in Atlanta, GA.
The new exhibit at the Library of Congress accomplishes a similar feat, depicting Rosa Parks as not just a historical hero, but a three-dimensional human, reminding us that all humans are capable of stopping injustice and inspiring change.
Have an idea for an impactful installation? Contact Cherrylion Studios today to commission your bronze sculpture in Atlanta, GA!