The “Lighthouse Keeper” sculpture loaned to Port Clinton for the summer
PORT CLINTON – The sculpture by former Port Clinton sculptor Andy Sacksteder, “The Lighthouse Keeper,” added a great deal of beauty to the maritime ambience surrounding the Port Clinton Lighthouse.
The life-size bronze sculpture has become almost as important an attraction to the area as the lighthouse itself. The sculpture, which is on loan for the summer, can be removed in October.
The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy is hoping someone will step up and lead a fundraising effort to purchase the sculpture so that it can stay at the lighthouse permanently. Conservancy chairman Richard Norgard said local talks about the purchase had already garnered support.
“Just publishing it generated a lot of interest. We had $ 3,000 in pledges up front, ”said Norgard.
The cost for “The Lightkeeper” is $ 40,000 plus an additional $ 12,000 for the dog. Both sculptures were made through a complex multi-step, multi-artist “lost wax process”. “The Lightkeeper” was sculpted from clay by Sacksteder in Port Clinton about four years ago. From there, the clay sculpture was sent to a foundry where a duplicate bronze sculpture was cast from Sacksteder’s original work. The process is completed by a series of skilled artists.
“Once I put it down to the foundry, the process from making the mold to finishing takes four to five months,” Sacksteder said. “It’s a very specialized process.
Sacksteder discovered his talent for clay sculpture while living in Port Clinton, where he was introduced to the art by famous Gibsonburg sculptor Jim Havens.
“Jim Havens gave me clay and I loved it,” he said.
Since then, Sacksteder has studied sculpture during his travels across the United States and Europe, and his works have won first and third prizes in the international ArtPrize competition.
When he was sculpting “The Lightkeeper” in Port Clinton, he hoped to find a local location to exhibit it. Although family obligations forced him to move to Michigan, he was happy to loan the sculpture to the conservatory for the summer.
“It’s an honor to have him there,” he said.
Norgard also believed that the Port Clinton Lighthouse was the perfect backdrop for the sculpture.
“I’ve always been intrigued by this, and as we developed the area around the lighthouse, it occurred to me that this would be a nice piece for this area,” Norgard said. “I got hold of Andy and asked him if there was any chance he would lend it to us for the summer. He said absolutely. He was happy to leave him here.
The conservation has sufficient funds to complete their upgrade project around the lighthouse, which includes landscaping and the installation of a walkway around the pond. But he doesn’t have enough funds to buy the sculptures, and Norgard has said he hopes someone outside of conservation leads the effort to buy the sculptures for conservation.
“We are looking for a third party to mount a fundraising effort. It would be separate from our fundraising because we don’t want to confuse our donors. We don’t want them to think we have abused funds, ”he said.
If funds are raised to purchase the sculptures, Norgard plans to install a plaque honoring the nine lighthouse keepers who served at the Port Clinton Lighthouse.
Sacksteder is grateful to the curator for working with him on the placement of the sculpture at the Port Clinton Lighthouse.
“I had a great time installing it with the conservation of the lighthouse. They are very good guys, ”he said. “I couldn’t think of a better place for sculpture. The lighthouse is the focal point of Port Clinton. It’s a great little corner of the world now.
For more information on fundraising efforts to purchase the “The Lighthouse Keeper” sculpture, visit portclintonlighthouse.org or by email at [email protected] For more information on Andy Sacksteder, visit andysacksteder.com.
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected]