Saturday, December 12, 2015

Roadtrip: Marshall M. Fredericks Museum

If you grew up going to Frederick Meijer Gardens, I'm sure you have memories of the Boy and the Bear, or as I fondly refer to him, Mowgli.

This sculpture along with numerous others at The Gardens are by Marshall Fredericks (1908-1998), an American sculptor who had a prolific career making public art.

Fredericks attended the Cleveland School of Art, and then Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, Hills Michigan. While at Cranbrook, in 1936, Fredericks won a competition to create a fountain for Detroit's Belle Islae Park — the sculpture still stands on the island outside the conservancy. 

This launched other commissions and collaborations including schools, libraries, auditoriums/theaters, churches (Indian River Shrine) shopping malls (Northland Shopping Center, Eastern Center), public buildings (The Cleveland War Memorial Fountain, The United States Department of State Headquarters in Washington D.C., Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detriot)  and the 1939 and 1964 World's fairs in New York City

Over 200 works of bronze and plaster models, as well as an installation of the sculptor's studio, which outlines the process of casting, are at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Musuem on the Saginaw Valley State University campus. Dorothy Arbury, an active board member of SVSU and a former student of Fredericks, was instrumental in opening this gallery devoted to Frederick''s work. Fredericks' estate donated the contents of his studio to the museum in 1998, following his death. 

It's a beautiful space with tall ceilings, and stone floors and walls. The pristine white of the plaster casts create dramatic silhouettes and shadows in the large room. It was very hard to resist running my hand across the smooth, clean surfaces of the plaster.
The museum is free to the public and about a 2 hour drive from Grand Rapids. You'll see a lot of familiar Frederick Meijer Garden faces in the lawn out front!

No comments :

Post a Comment