Gloucester, Mass., artist named sculptor for Chavez statue at The University of Texas at Austin

AUSTIN, Texas—Pablo Eduardo of Gloucester, Mass., has been selected as the sculptor for a statue of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, which will become the first statue of a Hispanic person on The University of Texas at Austin campus, William Powers Jr., president of the university, said today (June 21).

Powers said the artist was recommended by the university’s Cesar Chavez Statue Committee following a nationwide search during the past year. The eight-foot-tall bronze statue will be erected on the university’s West Mall and is scheduled to be unveiled April 6, 2007.

“Cesar Chavez was a tireless voice for social justice, civil rights, fair labor practices and a better life for those who lived on the edge of our society,” said Powers. “I join the entire university community in welcoming to the campus a statue honoring the legacy of Cesar Chavez, and I thank our students for making this possible.”

Stacy Torres, a statue committee member who also has served in Student Government, said students have been pleased with the selection process to this point and are excited about the selection of the artist and the progress being made.

“Eduardo has shown the experience necessary to produce a wonderful work of art that will live on at the university beyond our tenure,” said Torres, who during the past academic year had been involved with Student Government, which supported an effort to erect a statue of Chavez on campus.

Vice President for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez said, “I am confident that Pablo Eduardo will create a worthy and lasting interpretation of Chavez, who is one of my personal heroes. The students have worked hard to make this happen, and I am pleased that we are moving toward completion of this project."

Dr. Margarita Arellano, associate dean of students, is chair of the Cesar Chavez Statue Committee that includes students, faculty and staff representatives.

Some of Eduardo’s most prominent works may be seen at colleges, at the Rhode Island State House and in the Republic of Bolivia. Eduardo installed a 15-foot bronze statue of St. Ignacius of Loyola at Boston College in 2004. He also made two portrait busts in 2002 for the State of Rhode Island, and a life-size bronze and stone angel from “Paradise Lost” in 2002. In Bolivia, Eduardo also has made statues for the National Congress, House of Representatives and the Ministry of Foreign Service.

Eduardo has studied at Maryland Institute College of Art, in Baltimore, Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy, and Tufts University, where he received a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1994. He also attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Tomcyn Atelier in Evergreen, Colo., Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Rhode Island School of Design.

"I am truly honored to have been given this great opportunity to create a monument to one of my personal heroes,” Eduardo said. “To be able to sculpt the journey of a hero, it is a dream come true. When I was growing up in Washington, D.C., Cesar Chavez was a major figure in our home. He was an inspiration. We looked up to him. We grew up with him as an example.”

Members of The University of Texas at Austin community had discussed for many years the need for ethnic and gender diversity represented by statues and other works of art prominently displayed on campus. Students took the initiative in 2003 when they passed a referendum directing that a $1 per student fee be collected to erect two statues on campus—one representing a Latino person and the other a woman who had made significant contributions to society. Student-initiated committees recommended the statues be of two nationally recognized champions of civil rights—the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan and Chavez, the late civil rights and labor leader who became a force for social change.

The only other prominently displayed statue of an ethnic minority on campus is the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, which was unveiled on the east mall in 1999. 

During the 78th legislative session, the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1537 supporting the fee. Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill into law on June 20, 2003. On August 7, 2003, the students were able to obtain the support of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System when the board approved the fee referendum for the statues.

Collection of the student fees began in the spring 2004 semester and will conclude with the summer session of 2007. A total of $400,000 has been allocated for each statue.

The Board of Regents of the University of Texas System in it May 10 meeting reviewed a recommendation from the Cesar Chavez Statue Committee proposing that Eduardo be the artist and determined that Powers should make the final decision. Powers also is evaluating a committee recommendation regarding the Jordan statue but has not announced a decision.

For more information contact: Dr. Margarita Arellano, Office of the Dean of Students, 512-471-5017, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.