ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Gary Lee Price’s Great Contributors at DABS

Recognize this Great Contributor?
Recognize this Great Contributor?


The theme of this year’s Blooms is The Artistry in Nature.  To complement Nature’s accomplishments, the arboretum is featuring an exhibit of great artistry in bronze sculpture by Gary Lee Price.  Great Contributors is the name of the artist’s collection.  I know this is supposed to be At Home in Heath day, but I couldn’t wait to share these wonderful fellows. Come along with me and search among the flowers for the charming works of art.

Meet the Fam!

When the Arboretum issues an invitation I show up.  When I got two invitations for the same week, a media preview and a press conference, part of me wondered why they didn’t just have the press conference on the same day as the media preview, but I RSVP’d for both and put them on the calendar.

Media Preview Day Refreshments. Thanks DABS.
Media Preview Day Refreshments. Thanks DABS.

The media day was a lot of fun and I got some great pictures.  I thought the husband would join me for the Saturday press conference, but he decided against it at the last minute – bad choice.  When I wandered into the garden, I was escorted to an area near the DeGolyer Mansion.  I’m always glad to see VP of Advertising and Promotions, Teri Lindecker, even when I’ve just seen her a couple of days before.  Then she introduced me to Isaiah Price, the sculpture’s son and I realized this was going to be a great event.

Isaiah Price with one of the artists works in progress
Isaiah Price with one of the artist’s works in progress

Isaiah runs the business side of the artist’s operation.  Gary does the creating and Isaiah does everything else.  Gary Lee Price uses the lost wax process to create his sculptures.  Once Gary has a clay model ready for casting, Isaiah gets busy with their crew to turn it into a bronze sculpture.  Many individual pieces are cast that eventually are joined to made one whole statue.  Isaiah does a lot more than just oversee the casting process.  He also does the books, manages the staff, delivers the finished products and manages the money.

The Press Conference Proper 

All lined up and ready to speak
All lined up and ready to speak

After I chatted with Isaiah and his wife Sharee for a few moments, the artist came by looking for his phone.  Isaiah hopped to it and started looking.  Luckily, the phone was found and the press conference began.

Before getting to the artist, I’d like to give props to the guy in the tie.  He’s from Bank of America and they are the majority corporate contributor to Blooms.  I just want to say thank you very much to them and to tell all of you to go deposit your money in Bank of America – right now.  I support companies that support the arts.

Honest Abe and the artist

Finally, we got to hear from the artist himself.  He was charming and articulate.  He obviously loves what he does and enjoys sharing it with others.  Apparently he’s gotten a lot of flack from the fact that all eight Great Contributors at the arboretum are male.  His plan for the series is to have 10 men and 10 women and he’s just now getting started on the ladies.  His first lady will be Oprah Winfrey, if she approves his model.  With Great Contributors like Mother Theresa and Sacagawea among his planned works, I don’t know if I approve of where he decided to begin, but he’s the artist, not me!

After telling us about his process, he demonstrated how he works. He starts out by creating a teeny tiny little model and keeps making bigger ones until he gets to life-size.  The clay he uses is oil-based and was developed by the auto industry for designing cars.  However, these days most sculptors choose it over the old-fashioned water-based clay, because the oil-based clay never sets up and they can keep on working on it, even years later.

I had asked Isaiah what form their bronze came to them.  I was right when I guessed that it came to them in ingots.  However, I didn’t realize that when they melt it down they also melt leftover scraps from other sculptures.  I also remarked on the pleasant smile on Honest Abe’s face, which is so different from the stern or utterly exhausted look he usually has. Both Isaiah and Gary commented that the smile was definitely on purpose.  The artist wanted to portray Mr. Lincoln in an easy-going appealing manner.  He wants all of his sculptures to be approachable, especially since they are seated on park benches and are supposed to be selfie-friendly.

Here’s the rest of the Great Contributors you should look for at the arboretum.  Think of locating them among the floral displays as a sort of artistic scavenger hunt.   Along with Mark Twain above and President Lincoln, you will see Benjamin Franklin, William Shakespeare, George Washington, Claude Monet, the Wright Brothers and Albert Einstein.  I’ll warn you that The Bard is the hardest one to find, but by far my favorite.

I also wanted to share a few shots of Mr. Price at work.

And finally, if you’re thinking Mr. Price’s work looks familiar, well maybe it’s because we actually have our very own Gary Lee Price original right at the Arboretum.  Nancy’s Garden was one of my mom’s favorite places at the Arboretum, because Mr. Price’s sculpture reminded her of my sister and I.  Enjoy this shot of the art work and come back soon for more fun things happening in the Metroplex.




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