News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 30, 2012

EDITORIAL: A legend in bronze

Bird statue will take its appropriate place at ISU

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Erecting grand statues in tribute to historic Terre Haute figures who made an impact here and beyond is a worthwhile exercise for the community and its institutions. The effort has produced valuable assets in the past, and we’re convinced it will continue to do so.

We’re particularly pleased at recent news that Larry Bird, the legendary basketball figure who put Terre Haute and Indiana State University on the map with his stellar college career in the late 1970s, is the next to be immortalized. Bird’s exploits didn’t stop in Terre Haute, of course. He went on to distinguish himself as a superstar professional player with the Boston Celtics and coach and general manager of the Indiana Pacers. He is now known around the world as a sports icon.

Adding to our pleasure is that local sculptor Bill Wolfe will be creating the bronze statue of Bird in action as a Sycamore. We’re big fans of Wolfe’s work. When completed and unveiled in the fall of 2013, the new statue will stand bigger than life — 15-feet high — outside ISU’s Hulman Center.

The Bird statue project was initiated by a student-based organization known as the Larry Legend Foundation. The ISU Foundation is also involved now with the fundraising and is working to provide scholarships as part of the Larry Legend effort.

Despite some early snags, the project is on track.

In addition to the Bird statue, fundraising into the creation of the Arts Spaces Cultural Trail’s second sculpture is proceeding. The end result will be public artwork honoring Paul Dresser, the Terre Haute native who excelled as a composer and wrote the words and music to Indiana’s state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash.”

The Dresser piece will reside in Fairbanks Park, on the banks of the Wabash River. The Cultural Trail’s first sculpture, a statue of local poet Max Ehrmann, is located in a small plaza at Seventh and Wabash in downtown Terre Haute.

Terre Haute is rightly proud of its history and the people who helped define it. Honoring some of them with public sculptures is a good way to show appreciation, pay tribute and tell visitors about our colorful heritage.

Keep up the good work.