Gary Lee Price, A Great Contributor

DABS is ready for Summer!
DABS is ready for Summer!


One of my favorite things about Dallas Blooms was most definitely Gary Lee Price’s Great Contributor Sculptures.  Well, guess what, they’re still here!

Complimentary Lecture

I made several visits to Blooms this year, but one of my favorites was the media day for Gary Lee Price, so I was thrilled when I received an email letting me know he was coming for another visit.  I made reservations for the lecture and this time I invited Bill along, because I thought he’d enjoy getting to know this wonderful artist.

Saturday dawned a bit chilly and overcast, but that did not deter us.  At the lecture, the artist covered some of the same ground we’d covered on media day, but when he launched into future projects, we got very excited.  The same guy who designed the life-sized statues of Great Contributors now gracing the grounds of the Arboretum has a new project in the wings and it is a lot bigger than life-sized.

With Liberty Comes Responsibility

There’s something big about to happen on the West Coast and you can be a part of it.  The East Coast has Lady Liberty and the West Coast is going to have the Statue of Responsibility.

The artist loves his Great Contributors project and has plans to expand it with life-sized statues devoted to great female contributors, but he’s also very, very excited about the prospects of creating the 300-foot-tall Statue of Responsibility.  His inspiration came from author Viktor Frankl , a Holocaust survivor who believed true Liberty must go hand in hand with Responsibility.

On a trip to Vienna to get the blessing of Frankl’s widow on the project, Gary Lee Price took along his prototype of a statue depicting one arm reaching up for help clasped by another arm, there to offer assistance.  When it was revealed to Mrs. Frankel she was overcome with emotion.  She led the artist into her husband’s study.  There one the wall was a drawing Mr. Frankel had procured shortly after his release from the concentration camps.  The picture showed a hand reaching up for help, but no help could be found.  That picture was the inspiration for his life’s work and the artist had captured the idea of it without ever having met Mr. Frankel.  The widow felt as if her husband’s dream was coming true.

By visiting the Statue of Responsibility website you can find our all about the project and discover several ways to participate in the raising of this beautiful monument, which represents an even more wonderful idea.  An idea whose time has come, according to Leesa Clark-Price, the artists lovely wife and Executive Director of the Responsibility Foundation.

But What About the Arboretum

After the lecture, the artist led us on walking tour and shared his thoughts about each of the statues.  The exhibit deserves more than one visit, because each time you view them you can you gain more insight into the depth of the subjects’ personalities and the greatness of the artist’s genius.  The good news is that the Great Contributors Exhibit will be at the Arboretum through November 27th.

The garden itself deserves frequent visits.  I’ve already been several times this year and each visit has had it’s own flavor.  The first time I was overwhelmed by the fragrance of blooming flowers and bright colors of spring.  The next visit was devoted to the Great Contributors and even though that visit was only a few days later, more flowers had bloomed and a change in the weather to the better made everything look fresh and new.  A few weeks later I was there again.  The azaleas had blossomed and the trees had become green.

And don’t forget to visit the gift shop when you’re there. This guy followed us home and took up residence by the pond.

I have continued to make visits and bring friends.  Each time the garden has amazed me with new things to discover.  I noticed this time that the bright oranges and yellows of spring have been replaced with purples surprisingly matched with every contrasting color imaginable.  You really do need to see it to appreciate it – and the rose arbor is blooming!

Unfortunately, Saturday started out as a dreary day and while the Arboretum was as beautiful as always, photographing it was a bit of a challenge, so we just grabbed a few shots on our way out.  The sun teased us with the idea  of it coming out, and we thought about staying and watching Mr. Price do a little sculpting in the garden, but Bill was wishing for a Sonic burger.  So we picked up our new metal friend and headed to the drive-in.

On Wednesday, I’ll talk about the population aboard our latest cruise and on Friday you’ll find out how I dropped the ball on my youthful trip to El Paso, Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands.  For now I’ll leave you with some pictures from the garden, but do come back to visit.

Mr. Lincoln and his sculptor friend, Gary Lee Price
Mr. Lincoln and his sculptor friend, Gary Lee Price
Roses under the arbor
Roses under the arbor





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.