Class of 1956 gives bronze work to honor ‘the undying Wofford Spirit’
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – In 1989, Carl McCleskey began his career as an artist with a one-man show at Wofford College. On Tuesday, March 25, he returned to the college to unveil a very special outdoor sculpture, “The Wofford Terrier.” He and his wife, Betsy Scott, were commissioned by the college’s class of 1956 to create the piece, which honors “the undying Wofford Spirit.”
The new Terrier found his place at the entrance of the Campus Life Building, which houses “The Commons” student center, the Tony White and McMillan theaters, and the Benjamin Johnson Arena. He is about one and one-half times life size, and together with his granite base, weighs in at almost 1,000 pounds.
Over the years, McCleskey and Scott have earned recognition as two of America’s most respected wildlife sculptors. Just a few examples of their work include a life-size African lion pride for the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans; monumental great blue herons that are signatures for a Greg Norman’s golf course in Florida; and a sculpture of a young girl and boy reading in front of the library in Bay City, Mich. McCleskey’s favorite recent work is a pair of Red Tail Hawks commissioned by Foley and Associates in North Carolina.
“Doing this sculpture of a Boston Terrier was a nice challenge for us,” says McCleskey. “It did not take us very long to understand that we had to convey something much more than a model of a dog just standing there—Terriers are small, but they are full of intelligence and energy. What we were looking for was a dog with a confident and self-assured attitude, but not one that was fierce or threatening. An obvious winner, if you will.”
McCleskey said that he and Scott measure their success largely by looking at the eyes and the facial expressions of their animals, which are always important benchmarks for any works of art. “Betsy is really good at creating the eyes,” says McCleskey. “Our Terrier is watching something very interesting at a distance, and you want to turn and see what he is looking at. His facial features are unique and reveal him as poised and ready to spring into action.”
Carl McCleskey and Betsy Scott share a studio in the wilderness of Northwest Georgia, near Summerville. You may reach them at 706-862-2184, or go to their Web site at www.wildlifebronze-inc.com.
View the Spartanburg Herald-Journal slideshow of the installation of The Wofford Terrier.
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