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Sculpture Tour

On the Frankfort Public Art Tour you can interact with diverse sculptures created at different periods of history using a variety of materials and processes and commissioned for a variety of purposes.

A sculpture tour can be organized to experience several different clusters of sculptures.

  • The State Capitol’s ornately carved pediment is the oldest sculpture on the Frankfort Public Art tour. Inside, the Rotunda Statuary has fine examples of both carved and cast monumental statues. (The State Capitol houses many other artistic treasures, including the pendentive murals, also in the rotunda – see http://capitol.ky.gov/Pages/CapitolCentennial.aspx ).
  • Within easy walking or driving distance in the downtown area, you can experience a diversity of media including the cast bronze statue of William Goebel at the Old State Capitol, the soaring contemporary stainless steel metal sculptures on Mero Street, and the breathtaking “Divine Light” sculptural glass chandelier at First United Methodist Church on Washington Street. (The First United Methodist Church also has a gallery with rotating exhibits and stained glass windows.)
  • A short distance from downtown but worth the short drive, you can find the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Vernon Cooper Lane (in the form of an enormous sundial marking the anniversary of the death of every Kentuckian who died in the Vietnam War) and the monumental cast bronze Whitney M. Young, Jr. Statue on the campus of Kentucky State University.
  • Venturing out 127 south of the I-64 Interchange, you can spend hours – or days – exploring the ever-changing, contemporary sculptural exhibit integrated into the rural landscape of the 20-acre Josephine Sculptural Park, free and open to the public from dawn to dusk every day of the year, with guided tours available by appointment and a year-round calendar of special events and activities.

For a visual guide to processes and sculptural elements that you will encounter and discussion suggestions, you can download the PowerPoint, Sculpture on the Frankfort Public Art Tour. You can edit the Power Point to focus on the sites or concepts of interest to you. For a more active response to the sculpture tour, use the suggestions in the Educational Materials and to test your sculptural tour expertise, try the Quiz.

  • Divine Light Glass Chandelier

    Downtown Sculptures

    Divine Light Glass Chandelier

    The 2006 Wesley Center at the First United Methodist Church of Frankfort was designed with the arts in mind. Gallery Hall features the work of area artists, students from Kentucky State University, and church members. The most striking feature is a glass chandelier created by Brook Forrest White, Jr., owner of Flame Run Studio in Louisville. The Fine Arts Committee chose the biblical Pentecost text as the inspiration: “They were gathered in one place and the Holy Spirit descended on them as tongues of fire.” White’s “Divine Light” chandelier is a nine-foot sculpture comprised of three glass bowls suspende... Read More

  • Nexus

    Downtown Sculptures

    Nexus

    Nexus and its sister sculpture, Now Get, were commissioned by the Kentucky Arts Council, the Transportation Cabinet, and the Finance and Administration Cabinet in 2003. Erika Strecker and Tony Higdon were selected to create a sculpture to be installed at the convergence of Holmes, High, and Mero streets. The team first built a four foot tall model. Precise engineering was required as they constructed a 50 foot tall structure based on that 4 foot tall model, especially since they built the sculpture in their workshop laying in a horizontal position, knowing that it would be installed verti... Read More

  • Now Get

    Downtown Sculptures

    Now Get

    Now Get and its sister sculpture, Nexus, were commissioned by the Kentucky Arts Council, the Transportation Cabinet, and the Finance and Administration Cabinet in 2003. Garry Bibbs, the sculptor selected to create a public art piece in front of the newly constructed Transportation Cabinet Office Building, says that he had two goals in designing the sculpture. First, he wanted to get people’s attention through the dynamic movement inherent in the twin, towering arch passageway design. Then he wanted to tell a story of transportation. To him the columns represent forum, government, and or... Read More

  • William Goebel Statue at the Old State Capitol

    Downtown Sculpture

    William Goebel Statue at the Old State Capitol

    The statue of Governor William Goebel in front of the Old State Capitol is a reminder of the deeply divided politics of Kentucky at the end of the 19th century. Goebel was the only Kentucky governor to ever be assassinated. The statue was commissioned in 1910 by the Kentucky State Legislature and dedicated in 1914. Niehaus had earned a national reputation in 1881 for his statues of the recently assassinated President Garfield. His monuments are found in numerous cities, and he had eight statues in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, a record for a sculptor. The sculpture is a larger-than-life cast bronze statue mounted on an inscrib... Read More

  • Josephine Sculpture Park

    Josephine Sculpture Park

    The Josephine Sculpture Park is a unique stop on the Frankfort Public Art Tour because it is constantly changing with the seasons. A non-profit outdoor gallery, the park is free and open every day from dawn to dusk. Visitors can meander walking paths through native meadows to view over thirty works of art some of which are permanent and some temporary. Melanie VanHouten, the park’s founder, believes that making art is an innate part of who we are as a species, and that it is critically important for art to be part of our everyday experience. As a student and art professor in Minnesota, she visited the Franconia Sculpture Park, and from tha... Read More

  • Abraham Lincoln Statue at the Capitol Building

    State Capitol Sculptures

    Abraham Lincoln Statue at the Capitol Building

    The sculptor of the Abraham Lincoln statue, Adolph Alexander Weinman (December 11, 1870 – August 8, 1952) served as an assistant to Charles Niehaus early in his career. Like Niehaus, Weinman is known for architectural sculpture as well as monumental statues. He created two sculptures of Abraham Lincoln for Kentucky sites. One is in Hodgenville, Kentucky, close to Lincoln’s birthplace, t... Read More

  • Alben Barkely Statue at the Capitol Building

    State Capitol Sculptures

    Alben Barkely Statue at the Capitol Building

    Walker Kirtland Hancock (June 28, 1901, St. Louis, Missouri – December 30, 1998, Gloucester, Massachusetts) was a 20th-century American sculptor and teacher. Hancock had a distinguished career, receiving the National Medal of Arts in 1989 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1990.

    He created notable ... Read More

  • Henry Clay and Ephraim McDowell Statues at the Capitol Building

    State Capitol Sculptures

    Henry Clay and Ephraim McDowell Statues at the Capitol Building

    Charles Niehaus created two of the statues that make up the Rotunda Statuary, the statues of statesman, Henry Clay, and Ephraim McDowell, a frontier physician. These two statues are actually painted plaster models for the bronze cast statues that represent Kentucky in the United States Statuary Hall.

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  • Jefferson Davis Statue at the Capitol Building

    State Capitol Sculptures

    Jefferson Davis Statue at the Capitol Building

    About 15' tall on a pedestal about 5' tall, the statue was carved from Tennessee marble by Fredrick Cleveland Hibbard (1881-1950). Hibbard is best known for a number of Confederacy monuments. Jefferson Davis, an American soldier and politician became the President of the Confederate States of America during the civil War. The United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned Hibbard to c... Read More

  • Jefferson Davis Statue at the Capitol Building (2)

    State Capitol Sculptures

    Jefferson Davis Statue at the Capitol Building

    About 15' tall on a pedestal about 5' tall, the statue was carved from Tennessee marble by Fredrick Cleveland Hibbard (1881-1950). Hibbard is best known for a number of Confederacy monuments. Jefferson Davis, an American soldier and politician became the President of the Confederate States of America during the civil War. The United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned Hibbard to c... Read More

  • Pediment of the Capitol Building

    State Capitol Sculptures

    Pediment of the Capitol Building

    The Kentucky State Capitol boasts an impressive collection of public art, starting with the Capitol Building itself. Dedicated in 1910, the Capitol combines elements of classical Greek architecture with highly ornate French styling in a Beaux Arts style. The pediment of the front portico, designed by Charles Niehaus and carved by Australian sculptor Peter Rossack in 1909, is richly sculpted with alle... Read More

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