News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 13, 2013

Artists sought for Dresser sculpture

Piece to honor Terre Haute native, will be located in Fairbanks Park

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Wabash Valley Art Spaces has begun the search for an artist to design and construct an outdoor, public sculpture that honors Paul Dresser, Terre Haute native and author of Indiana’s state song.

The organization has issued a “request for qualifications” for the project, to be located in Fairbanks Park near the home where Dresser was born.

Artists have until July 17 to apply and send images of their past work. Art Spaces then will select three to five finalists in August and bring them to town, one by one, in September to meet with them and let them visit the site.

At that point, finalists develop a proposal and model, and from there, Art Spaces hopes to select the artist for the Dresser Project in November.

The goal is to complete the project by June 2014. The artist budget will be $50,000 and the overall project cost is estimated at $85,000. Fundraising is still under way and is approaching the 75 percent mark, said Mary Kramer, Art Spaces executive director.

“We are well enough on our way that I felt comfortable moving forward,” she said.

She is looking forward to seeing the artists’ proposals later this year. “They come up with interesting ideas we never would have anticipated,” she said.

In the past, when Art Spaces has issued RFQs for sculptures, about 100 to 160 artists have submitted materials.

The Paul Dresser Project will honor the world renowned composer and one of his best known songs, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” Indiana’s state song for 100 years.

Many residents have offered ideas about what they would like to see in a sculpture, but it will be the artists who come up with proposals, after extensive research, Kramer said.

During the visit to Terre Haute, finalists  learn more about the sculpture site, the community and what Dresser means to the community, she said.

For more information, or to contribute to the project, go to

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or