Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sammy Saxon Sculpture

Original Sammy Statue with flames

The Centerpiece of Campus (for now)

The Sammy Saxon Sculpture in what has been called the Senior Circle, was constructed in 1969.  The statue was featured in the 1969 Seaxe (see photo) showing the progress from armature to completion.  The statue's surface is brazed bronze and if it had been cared for properly it would be a beautiful patina today.  The artist was Ron Tracy, ceramics and crafts instructor for many years at Loara.

The following is the text written in the yearbook:

The Saxon odyssey is three years long, an eventful journey kept in motion by one special promise: the promise of personal growth.  Sometimes, with a glance over the should from the midst of routing, there seems little reason to hope that anything new can emerge from such uncertainty.  Yet we do know that often a mysterious change takes place between sophomore orientation and senior graduation.  there exists a finite moment which is now, the time in which we decide what we will become, how far we will take ourselves.  the outcome of future events eludes control, but the present is ours in which to shape ourselves for the future.  The making of a Saxon is the sum of all the "nows" of daily life at Loara.  Awareness of where each moment is taking him is the beginning of personal freedom and of individual expansion.

Seaxe 1969

The cost of the statue was around $1,000.00, $600.00 to the artist and $400.00 for materials.  This amount was very low even in 1969 for a sculpture this size and technique.  It took over 400 hours and 9 months to make the statue which is 8 feet high and weighs 850 pounds.  The sculpture was dedicated that year by Vice Principal, Don McKim.  It was unveiled in a special ceremony with the faculty and students of Loara present.

The sculpture was installed in the Senior Circle after the fountain pool was covered up.  It was originally equipped with butane gas so that the torch, carried high in the right hand, could be lit.  The motto, Forever Upward," is on the shield held by the left arm.  The torch was lit after a football victory.  In a few short years the sculpture was progressively vandalized by rival schools.  Eventually, Sammy Saxon was pulled all the way down, the metal torch broke off, and a hole punched through the bronze skin.  Fortunately, it was re-mounted to it's present site and condition after much work and physical effort.  The sculpture finally had to be painted to cover up the scars of repeated vandalism.  No estimate exists on the number of coats or amount of paint used to continually apply to the damaged or altered surface.

Today, Sammy Saxon stands tall as a testament to the spirit of all Loara Saxons and as a fine example of the art produced by the Loara art department.

With modernization taking place early this century Loara has gone through many physical changes.  Trees have been remove, grass removed and new foliage has taken it's place.  There has been much talk about the fate of Sammy.  In the 23 years that I've been here they have mentioned how worn Sammy has become and how the materials they used have become a safety issue.  Not to mention the amount of paint on Sammy is weighing him down.  There is serious discussion to bringing in a new and improved statue, one made of bronze.  The good news is that with the strong presence of alumni on the campus both as teachers and supporters I am confident the current Sammy will not be removed from the campus but moved to a different location.  We will see, only time can tell.

1 comment:

  1. It would be nice if the art department had the means to undertake restoration of the statue as a class project. Then, the statue could be moved to another location inside - perhaps an auditorium or library location, where it would not be vandalized.