While a very welcome commission came in the form of sculpting a pioneer of the American Midwest, it gave me quite a challenge to sculpt a very little known historical figure with only one photograph as reference at the start of the project.
Judge Eugene Criss settled in Sac City, Iowa in 1855 and started a number of local business to help establish the town. He was a prominent fur buyer and Indian trader for several years. He erected the first flouring mill, mill dam as well as working as a miller, lumberman, merchant and farmer. He was also the first Post Master of Sac County and the County Judge in 1868.
He was elected to represent the district in the State legislature, and later was a candidate for Senator.
His great grandson John Criss bequeathed a generous 7 million dollar beautification fund to Sac City and I was quite pleased to work with a project team all from Iowa (artist Steve Baier and Bill Laven, stonemason) as we plowed through a fast, four month schedule to get the monument erected before the first snowfall.
Not only did we hit our goal, but we delivered the finished piece two weeks early and unveiled the bust on a very cold morning in October, 2017.
This project was most gratifying as it was an outdoor work of public art for all to enjoy of their fine cities original founder.
My sincere thanks to the trustees of the John Criss Foundation for their kind support and confidence of my team and I.