A Look Back: The Making of the Batavia Bridge Sculpture

Batavia Sculpture Unveiling
Artists Jessica LoPresti and Oscar León submitted an entry for a sculpture competition that reflected the rich history of Batavia, which included the Potawatomi, windmills, the Fox river and limestone quarries. After they were selected as one of the finalists, they had to submit a maquette which the public and the City Council voted on. Their design won the competition.The following image is of the original rendering: A Look Back The process of creating a sculpture involves numerous complicated steps. However, after the composition is finalized, the sculpting process begins with the creation of an armature. This particular image shows the armature that was built for the Potawatomi man. First, the artists welded the metal to form a basic skeleton and then attached wood, screws and wires prior to adding the clay.
Sculpture Armature Oscar and Jessica visited the Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center in Crandon, Wisconsin and researched the clothing, hunting implements and other pertinent details for the sculpture, which can be seen in the final clay images of the Potawatomi man:
Potawatomi clay
Potawatomi Clay Portrait The artists incorporated a glass ‘base’ that represented the importance of the Fox River in the industry and development of the city of Batavia. Each of the four panels had to be sculpted in clay and then molded. The glass panels were cast by Sharon Gilbert of Talisman Glass in Chicago. Clay panel Rubber and plaster molds of the Potawatomi man, fire and base were then sent to the Hot Scotsman Foundry for casting of the bronze. Potawatomi molds Wax positives were created from the molds and were then used in the ceramic shell investment casting. Potawatomi Waxes After the casting of the bronze elements, the pieces were welded and chased. The steel and bronze windmill was hand-fabricated by Oscar. A patina was then applied to the bronze as seen in the image below: A Look Back Bronze The sculpture was installed on the William Donovan Bridge overlooking the Fox River in Batavia. The unveiling took place on September 1, 2013. BataviaSculptureFinal
Read more about the unveiling of the sculpture in these online articles:
Chicago Tribune
Kane County Chronicle