AUSTIN, Texas—Finalists have been selected in a competition involving artists from throughout the country seeking commissions to create bronze statues for The University of Texas at Austin of two nationally recognized champions of civil rights—the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan and the late Cesar Chavez.
The statues of Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to serve in the U.S. Congress, and Chavez, a civil rights and labor leader who became a force for social change, will be prominently located on The University of Texas at Austin campus. The unveiling is expected to be during the 2006-07 academic year.
Four finalists, all of them acclaimed national artists in the field of sculpture, were chosen for each of the two projects. Following an evaluation process, one artist will be commissioned for the Chavez project and one for the Jordan project.
Artists chosen as finalists for the statue of Chavez, which will be placed on the south side of the West Mall across from the Undergraduate Library, include Tina Allen of North Hills, Calif., Littleton Alston of Omaha, Neb., Pablo Eduardo of Gloucester, Mass., and Bruce Wolfe of Piedmont, Calif.
The finalists competing to design the statue of Jordan, which will be located near the Battle Oaks at 24th and Whitis streets, are Erik Blome of Crystal Lake, Ill., Kim Crowley of Santa Fe, N.M., Eddie Dixon of Lubbock, Texas, and David Newton of Dallas.
The finalists were selected following a nationwide search for artists specializing in bronze statues. Each will design a maquette (a small model) of their conceptualized artistic work for the statue competition for which they have been selected. Maquettes will be received by mid-August and they will be displayed on campus during the fall 2005 semester. University community members will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the maquettes to each statue’s selection committee. Artists will be selected for each commission by next December.
For many years, members of the university community have discussed the need for ethnic and gender diversity represented by statues and other works of art prominently displayed on campus. The idea for the two statues came from students.
Chavez, who fought for the rights of farm laborers and minorities, was chosen by the We Are Texas Too student organization, which prompted the formation of the Cesar Chavez Statue Committee.
The statue for Jordan, who spent her final 17 years teaching in the LBJ School of Public Affairs after retiring from political life, was conceptualized by the service organization Orange Jackets tappee class, which expressed concern about the need on campus for a statue of a woman. The organization first lobbied for the statue as part of its yearly service project in fall 2002.
The issue was taken to a campus-wide student referendum during the spring 2003 semester and was approved by the University of Texas System Board of Regents that summer, said Sherri Sanders, associate dean of students.
During the 78th legislative session, the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1537 supporting a student fee to pay for the statues. Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill into law on June 20, 2003.
Collection of the student fees began in the spring 2004 semester and will conclude with the summer session of 2007. Leftover money will go toward a scholarship fund.
Inquiries about the Cesar Chavez statue may be directed to Dr. Margarita M. Arellano at 512-471-5017. Inquiries about the Barbara Jordan statue may be directed to Dr. Sherri L. Sanders at 512-471-5017.
For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.