Fairfield Art Association
Celebrating 50 Years with New Bronze Sculpture
5 Contributing Artists
Artist Rowe presented his sculpted hands and head to place on the full figure and take measurements with Artist Bennett.
Rowe explained the work is in the structural formation period, and that these will now “age” as he a defines an older Lee Gobble, with his continued work on the head and hands.
Collaborating professional sculptors on this bronze sculpture together is not the first for this pair. Years ago, a young Rowe was an apprentice to Bennett in his Bentonsport Studio.
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Lee Gobble Sculpture Unveiling
“Lee T. Gobble, Mr. Fairfield” graces the front lawn of the FACC
and forever glances at the Courthouse Steeple he succeeded in replacing.
This project was supported in part
a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs,
Most everyone in town knew Lee, who passed away at 100 years old in April 2015. There are countless stories about Lee, his family clothier establishment since 1853, his unique style & quirkiness, his generosity, relationship with Parson College and love of Fairfield.
The figure of Lee will reflect his personality and some of his favorite silly traits – he will be clothed in dress pants, a shirt with un-buttoned collar, topped with a Parsons College sweater, and sports jacket. If you knew Lee in the 1960s and 70s, you’ll understand the old style phone in his pocket. There will be GGG turkey designs, a bow tie, U of I considerations, and of course a Hershey’s kiss in hand. There is so much to say about Lee Gobble, that an added feature will be the colorful “fan of Lee’s tie collection” spread at the base like outstretched turkey feathers, depicting more stories and Fairfield history.
There was more than one model!
The Fairfield Art Association Board annouced, “We have identified not one, but three gentlemen that fit the height , weight and age criteria to represent Gobble. Each will take their turns in the standing pose for sculptor Christopher Bennett”.
Bennett has set up his working space in the atrium of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, near the FAA studio, for the public to view and share in this community project.
A smaller prototype, of the slightly larger than life sculpture, was created by Bennett. When this was completed it was cast into bronze and is currently displayed at the FACC.
A photo display identifies the different stages and processes of this project.
As fundraising continues, the full size sculpture will be developed, which includes having Ken Rowe create the head and hands in the exact likeness of Lee Gobble. The FAA wanted to include this talented & recognized native Fairfield artist in this project.
Models selected to pose for the muscular defining and body portion by Bennett include; David Miller a Parsons graduate living in Des Moines, Herb Shafer from Bentonsport, and Ken Norton of Fairfield who worked in the clothing business with Gobble.
All the models knew and loved Mr. Gobble and are excited to be included in the project.
When faced with several candidates weighing between 150 – 175 lbs, 5’8” to 5’ 10” tall and ages of 63 – 77, Chris Bennett said we can use several and that will help with his modeling schedule. Photos were taken of each one for working in his Bentonsport studio, and the men can be present at the FACC when he sculpts there. Everyone is happy!
A display mannequin will be dressed in Lee Gobble’s clothing and used as a model for Bennett,
after he finishes the muscular development of the live models. Sculpted clay clothes will be layered on top of the formed body figure and develop the character of Lee T. Gobble.
We invited donations from anyone that appreciates art, the memory of Lee Gobble, and/or agrees with the recent “Community Assessment & Recommendations” stating “we would encourage more public art throughout the community… especially downtown. We could imagine Fairfield being known for public art in years to come.”
(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
………..As the sculpture project evolved.
Photos and videos courtesy of Werner Elmker
All Donors/Memorials will be listed
on an appropriate plaque
FAA is a 501C3 non-profit organization – donations are tax deductible