Client: Jeanie Bieri, MUSCO Lighting
Location: Oskaloosa, IA, United States
Completion date: 1997
Artwork budget: $42,500
Joe Crookham and Jeanie Bieri
A life-size image of George Daily as he was typically seen, playing checkers in the public square, seated on a park bench. The sculpture was installed in front of the George Daily Civic Center. The piece is six feet long, three feet wide, and 4 feet high. The response from the public to personal thematic imagery is always favorable. People tend to look forward to seeing George Daily in bronze, as they do toward visiting and interacting with a good friend.
George Daily was a town character, a recluse, and an heir of wealth of which he had no regard at all. He said, with a dismissive wave of his hand of his substantial funds, "leave it to the City!", of Oskaloosa. The city decided to build a civic center dedicated to its benefactor. Within the civic center, numerous stories, anecdotes, and items pertaining to him are displayed in the lobby for visitor enjoyment and community nostalgia.
I was asked by another artist to complete the project he had already designed but knew he would be unable to finish. He passed away shortly afterward. I proceeded with the initial proposal, but updated it and detailed it according to stories and research conducted concerning Mr. Daily. Joe Crookham, an attorney who looked after George Daily's affairs, and his wife Jeanie Bieri supplied ample "George" stories and photos to help describe an unusual man, allowing me to best portray him.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable project and process from helping a fellow artist to meeting with the clients, researching the man, and creating the image showing finesse of movement and minute detail.