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WFA and TRAHC Donate Railroad-Themed Sculpture to Front Street Plaza




Texarkana’s historical ties to the railroad are honored in a new sculpture erected on October 9, 2013 in downtown’s Front Street plaza.

The 27-foot sculpture, called “Blessed Be The Tie That Binds,” was placed in the 100 block of Wood Street between Front Street and Broad Street. It features two portions of railroad track and images of Arkansas and Texas to honor the Twin Cities.

Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council’s Women of the Arts member and other contributors made the statue possible, said TRAHC Executive Director Brian Goesl. The piece took more than $30,000 to create. A formal dedication date for the sculpture has not yet been selected.

Art meets industry
Local group donates railroad sculpture

By: Becky Bell - Texarkana Gazette
 
Texarkana’s historical ties to the railroad are honored in a new sculpture erected on October 9, 2013 in downtown’s Front Street plaza.

The 27-foot sculpture, called “Blessed Be The Tie That Binds,” was placed in the 100 block of Wood Street between Front Street and Broad Street. It features two portions of railroad track and images of Arkansas and Texas to honor the Twin Cities.

Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council’s Women of the Arts member and other contributors made the statue possible, said TRAHC Executive Director Brian Goesl. The piece took more than $30,000 to create. A formal dedication date for the sculpture has not yet been selected.

“I just appreciate everyone who has invested in this,” Goesl said. “The city of Texarkana, Ark., has really stepped up and completed the final step for us. This is really an opportunity to set the stage for this stage.”

The sculpture is in the area where events for Front Street occur and where acts perform on stage. The work of making the sculpture a reality in town began back in 2006, Goesl said, and is tied to the annual Party With Picassos which pairs local celebrities with artists to make and sell art to benefit arts education. This fundraising event is put on by TRAHC’s  Women for the Arts.

Christal Prince and Linda Lilly were co-chairmen of the Women for the Arts group when work began on fundraising for the sculpture. Prince and Lilly were on hand Wednesday to see the sculpture being placed into its new home, along with Jeff Sandefur. The ladies said it was Sandefur’s vision that must be credited with how the sculpture looks.

“There were a lot of people who sponsored this,” Prince said. “The city of Texarkana, Ark., has been fabulous. They have been a wonderful partner.”

Work on the area around the sculpture will continue in the upcoming weeks and months said Mary Beck, Texarkana, Ark’s planning/preservation assistant.

Landscaping has already begun with work being provided by 28 men from the Arkansas Department of Correction. Lt. R.E. Morgan said the inmates are used by the city at no cost and do this type of work before being eligible for work release. The men are sodding the space around the sculpture so that area can be used for Front Street events.

Also downtown Wednesday was Jerome LeGrand who worked on the sculpture with his father, Julius. The two operate LeGrand and Sons, which specializes in ornamental ironwork, artistic ironwork, artistic blacksmithing, iron restoration, custom ironwork, iron gates, iron artwork, etc.

Jerome LeGrand said he didn’t know exactly how many hours went into creating the sculpture, but estimates the work took almost 200 hours.

“There was a lot of welding, heating and being able to make all the curves to get it into this shape,” he said. “This took a lot of research and development and a lot of head scratching to try and figure out how to make it. Seeing it set up is a great sense of accomplishment.”

Goesl said the sculpture was originally planned to be placed on State Line Avenue, but after researching the location it was determined too much wind on State Line would have destroyed the sculpture.

The Front Street placement allows visitors from the post office to walk down and see the sculpture if they are taking a walking tour, said Charlotte Hartwell, marketing director for Texarkana, Ark.

Hartwell said there are also plans to move a train caboose near the sculpture. The caboose would provide a place to take photos and serve as a ticket booth for Front Street events, she said.

bbell@texarkanagazette.com
Published: 10/10/2013


 


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