Monday, July 22, 2013
McKinney sculptor installs new white buffalo piece downtown
It received an official Kaw Indian dedication on July 20.
MCKINNEY Longtime McKinney residents Jake Dobscha and Don Day are working together to create beauty in downtown McKinney.
Several months ago, Day, a McKinney City Council member, commissioned Dobscha to sculpt a large piece for the front of Day's newest building at 206 S. Kentucky Street. Dobscha carved a buffalo from white Indiana limestone. The white buffalo is sacred to Native American culture. Dobscha asked his friend Jim Gates, a Kaw Indian and ceremonial dancer for his tribe in Oklahoma, to come down to McKinney and bless the art. The dedication was held on Saturday, July 20.
Dobscha brings years of experience in the construction industry to the design and fabrication of his sculptural installations. No project is too large or too small for the self-taught painter/sculptor. He has built bridges as well as fountains, and worked with concrete, steel, and stone.
"Everything is a process," Dobscha explains. "The installation work is something I couldn't have gone to school for."
Dobscha's 800-pound white buffalo, with horns of steel, sets upon a square pedestal of poured concrete and circular-cut flagstone forms extending outward, leading the eye to the animal. Like a true builder/sculptor, Dobscha is as concerned about his materials as he is the forms they take.
"I go to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth to look at the building more than the art inside of it," he says. "The concrete walls were poured with special forms in order to create a smooth, 'soft' concrete finish. I wanted that satin-smooth finish on my pedestal."
Dobscha achieve his desired quality, and the pedestal stands ready to receive its sculpture.
Dobscha is the first resident artist Day has commissioned to create a piece of public art. The artist attracted Day's attention thanks to the display in the McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC) of Dobscha's monumental painting of cotton pickers.
"That painting really caught my eye," Day recalls. "The scene was a common one in the rural Texas in which I grew up."
Subsequently, Day joined Hamilton Doak, owner of Orisons Fine Art Gallery and vice-chair of the McKinney Arts Commission, in helping Ty Lake, MPAC director, raise the funds necessary to purchase the painting for MPAC's public art collection.
Both Day and Doak are aggressive in supporting area artists by purchasing their artwork and by supporting and funding a public art collection in McKinney. Dobscha was particularly pleased that Day looked for an artist locally. "There is a great deal of talent in McKinney," Dobscha said.
For Day, commissioning Dobscha to create the sculpture for his new building was more than a decision to buy good art from a local artist; it was a business decision based on a civic agenda. Day said he has plans for two more downtown buildings, both of which will have art by local artisits.
"You can't quantify the value of art, but people want to see beautiful things. I have found that if you have beautiful buildings which include art, they are easier to lease," Day explains. "Furthermore, it's part of our maturing as a city to appreciate and support the arts. To create a world-class city, you have to have public art."
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