Loveland artist creates MLK bronze statue |

Loveland artist creates MLK bronze statue

Loveland Reporter-Herald
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

LOVELAND, Colo (AP) ” When re-creating an American icon, you need to do your research.

So when Loveland’s Ron Petitt was commissioned by his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, to sculpt a life-size Martin Luther King Jr. for its new park, he headed straight to the Internet.

“Martin Luther King Jr. is so well-known,” Petitt said. “I had to make sure it looked like him.”

He began by clicking through photos of the civil rights leader but soon moved on to films.

“I like to work in what I call ‘in the round,”‘ he explained. “I like to see people actually moving.”

As a portrait sculptor, Petitt has had practice depicting real people in bronze, from fallen soldiers to J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

But it can be difficult, he said.

Not only does he need to sculpt the figure in clay, but the artist also must take into consideration other factors that come with casting the sculpture, including metal shrinkage, which can leave the finished product looking nothing like its model.

Yet Petitt’s research and experience seemed to pay off in the finished 320-pound, slightly larger-than-life Martin Luther King Jr. piece.

After its casting in Loveland, the sculpture was transported to Beaumont to take its place in the city’s new park dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.

“The people involved were just thrilled with it,” Petitt said.

And he’s excited the sculpture will be the centerpiece of the park.

“What I like is that they built this beautiful park for the sculpture,” he said.

The 3.5-acre Martin Luther King Jr. Park is part of the town’s reconstruction after it was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

With winding sidewalks and eight walls featuring quotes from King, Petitt described the park as not typical, and beautiful.

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