Client: Kettering Unniversity
Location: Flint, U.S.A.
Completion date: 2013
Suzanne Johnson, Sculpture Design,L.L.C.
Kettering University Chose to honor Professor Bell with a Bronze bust in his likeness. Professor Bell has taught 200 Consecutive terms- 50 Years and is still teaching. He is a remarkable man adored by students and staff alike, he is known for his role as mentor. The unveiling was proposed to occur during the 2013 homecoming and alumni week.
The University began a large renovation project to coincide with the celebration. With Interior designers/ builders, electricians and craftsman woodworker's on staff, they planned to re- design the lounge, cafe, and game room near Professor Bell's classroom. Enlivening the space with a contemporary fun feel. Kettering felt it important to display the bust respectfully but also wanted it to be accessible to the students. An alumni told me "Professor Bell will bring any one luck who even stands near to him". So a new tradition of rubbing the bronze shoulder of Professor Bell has emerged.
I adhered to a tight deadline schedule to make sure they could comfortably prepare for the installation of the bust. Working as a consultant/ collaborator with their woodworker,we shared and perfected a concept for the plinth/ base, which was beautifully built. Also I worked closely with the builder who requested input on the choice of wall built for the niche, behind the bust. Through collaboration we fostered the idea of a backlit translucent wall in an oval shape to echo the oval of the plinth and also the curves of the new ceiling and curves of the new light fixtures. Consisely intergrating the art into the space.
On a personal note; this was one of those times when creating a bronze bust has enriched the sculptor, myself, in ways beyond measure. To depict an individual who I have come to admire for his intellect, fun and at times silly personality. A role model and mentor to alumni students, who now work for fortune 500 companies, and future students. Profesor Bell is truly worthy of bronze.