1958 Canton Championship sculpture completes “The ELEVEN” art series

TOWNSHIP – Artist Jack Howard-Potter stood at the base of a 30-foot steel sculpture he created as it glowed in the sun Friday afternoon during an unveiling ceremony.

When told about the concept, the famous sculptor said he was immediately intrigued by the idea because the coin commemorates an iconic NFL football game played in his hometown of New York.

Specifically, however, Howard-Potter became fascinated by Raymond Berry, a Baltimore Colts player who caught 12 passes and scored a touchdown in the 1958 championship game.

Following:A football-themed art series in downtown Canton approaches the goal line with a mural by Pete Rozelle

While researching the subject, Berry “just jumped off the page on me… and he was just an inspiration to me, for his Cinderella story.”

The sculptor, however, said the striking and towering artwork on Cleveland Avenue NW, just north of Ninth Street near the ArtsinStark offices, is more than a game.

“Public art activates a community,” he enthusiastically told an audience that included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and David Baker, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “It brings people on the outside, it gets them to look at their community in a new way.”

David Baker, President and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, speaks about football during the unveiling of the "1958 Championship Game" sculpture in Canton on Friday.

Baker highlighted the football-related projects and the money invested in downtown Canton, including the recently opened Centennial Plaza, a project between the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the city of Canton.

“It changes people’s lives,” Baker said. “It’s changing downtown.

Football is “much more than a game”

Friday’s official unveiling was particularly significant as it is the final installation of nearly a dozen public art pieces scattered around downtown Canton celebrating the greatest moments in football history. professional.

“I’m living a dream standing here,” Howard-Potter said.

Artist Jack Howard-Potter speaks Friday before a ceremony to unveil his sculpture, "1958 Championship Match," in Canton.

The sculpture is reminiscent of what is considered the “greatest game ever played” when Johnny Unitas brought the Baltimore Colts back to defeat the New York Giants in the league’s first overtime.

Combining in-kind and cash donations, “The ELEVEN” cost approximately $ 1.5 million, said Robb Hankins, former President and CEO of ArtsinStark who participated in the most recent installations.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shares a laugh with Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton during the unveiling of the "1958 Championship Game" sculpture in Canton on Friday.

“Football unites people, football is more than a game,” said Goodell. “Much more than a 1958 championship game. It’s about people and communities, and no community has given more to the NFL than this community here in Canton, Ohio.”

Concluding his comments, the commissioner said, “There isn’t one city in all (of the country) that could do this other than Canton, Ohio. And I think it’s something you should be proud of. . “

The sculpture by artist Jack Howard-Potter, named the "1958 Championship Match," was unveiled in Canton on Friday as part of "The eleven" public art series inspired by football.

Pete Rozelle art piece in Canton

Earlier this week, a wall banner commemorating Pete Rozelle’s appointment as NFL commissioner in 1960 was unveiled on the side of a building on Fifth Street NW, between Market Street and Cleveland Avenue.

Stark County artist Tommy Morgan, who has created several works of art in downtown Canton as well as elsewhere in Stark County, created the Rozelle artwork, which includes 54 pieces of sheet metal.

Morgan’s piece combines painting and scanning to form the approximately 20 by 200 art installation.

Other inner-city works of art commemorate the birth of the NFL; Rough draft; merger; reinstatement; Super Bowl III; Monday night football; the red barn; AFL; and the bowl of ice cream.

Sculpture “1958 Championship Game” by Jack Howard-Potter

A native of New York, Howard-Potter received a degree in art history and sculpture from Union College. He has been creating and exhibiting his original sculptures since 1997.

Working with steel, he creates large-scale figurative sculptures motivated by his study of human anatomy and movement.

His work has been exhibited around the world in outdoor sculpture parks, galleries and public art exhibitions.

Howard-Potter created two other works of similar stature, but the Canton piece is the more ambitious.

“This is for sure the most complicated and complex that I have done of all these three,” he said.

“Each piece of this sculpture is an experience or knowledge I gained from working for another artist or trying to figure it out on my own,” Howard-Potter said in an ArtsinStark video. “And it took a long time for all of these things to happen and come together.”

Engineers, concrete experts, riggers, crane operators, a structural steel producer and others were instrumental in bringing the artistic enterprise to fruition, he said.

“The good thing about this sculpture is that, yeah, I made it, but there was this huge team of people who all worked together to get to this point and have this thing made,” L said. ‘artist.

Township Mayor Thomas Bernabei, left, chats with David Baker, President and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, before the unveiling of the "1958 Championship Game" sculpture in Canton on Friday.

Concrete and steel

Donors and local businesses have also helped make this striking sculpture a reality, according to Hankins.

They include Fred Olivieri Construction and Graco Concrete, two Stark County companies.

Claudette Hankins shares a laugh with Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, after the unveiling of the "1958 Championship Game" sculpture in Canton on Friday.

A total of 200,000 pounds of concrete forms the basis of the sculpture, said Brian Davis, Graco’s director of operations.

Another 2,000 pounds of steel reinforce the foundations.

These supplies and site work were provided free of charge, Hankins said.

“It’s great because it’s going to be here for a long time,” said Dean Olivieri, President of Olivieri Construction. “We pour a lot of concrete, but something like that is fun because a lot of people will appreciate it.”

Sponsors of “The ELEVEN” include the George H. Deuble Foundation, the Hoover Foundation, the Stark Community Foundation and the Timken Canton Foundation.

Coon Restoration and Hilscher-Clarke also provided services throughout the football related public art series.

Jack Howard-Potter makes remarks during the unveiling ceremony of his sculpture commemorating the "1958 Championship game."

Contact Ed at (330)580-8315 and [email protected]

On Twitter @ebalintREP

About Glenn Gosselin

Glenn Gosselin

Check Also

The playful visions of Claudia Cave | Oregon ArtsWatch

In terms of area, and even if it occupies two rooms, Claudia Cave: Interiors and …