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Client: City of Omaha

Location: Omaha, NE, United States

Completion date: 2003

Artwork budget: $1,200,000

Project Team

Artist

Matthew Placzek

Placzek Studios

Client

Terry Moore

AFL-CIO President

Industry Resource

Susan Jorgensen

Leo A Daly

Overview

Standing over 3-stories tall at 30 feet tall, "Labor" is currently the second largest labor monument in the country. The 271-ton design features the original ladles that were used in the Smelting Plant located at the same site as the monument. The massive design includes five larger-than-life 8-foot figures depicting hard work and dedication to this craft. This sculpture is showcased prominently as part of the newly developed riverfront in Omaha, Nebraska.

Goals

Chosen for his unique creative style and realism, Matthew combined realism and abstract concepts to create a spectacular work of art that is inspiring and motivational. Each of the figures, four men and one woman, have weathered expressions and hardened bodies from their daily arduous contributions to their family, community, and country. Incorporating the actual ladles from the original Smelting Plant was a challenge, as they were turned into a functional water feature to mimic their original use. In the colder seasons "Labor" still works as a stand-alone sculpture without running water.

Process

Created from more than 39,000 pounds of steel and over 500,000 pounds of cement, this monument was built with the help of local cement masons, electricians, plumbers, steamfitters, laborers, carpenters, ironworkers, and operating engineers.