DEARBORN – With the majestic iron horse standing sentry in the background Sept. 22, Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and Dearborn Community Fund Chairwoman Susan Rowe thanked the donors who made it possible to keep the popular sculpture in the city where it has become one of the most popular pieces of local public art.
Dearborn residents David and Cherie Bazzy, Kenwal Steel and the company’s CEO Kenneth Eisenberg, donated $16,000 to purchase the sculpture from artist James Oleson Jr. in 2014 so the piece could continue to be enjoyed by visitors to the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.
Additional funding for display of the sculpture was provided by the Garden Club of Dearborn and the city.
“Gaze” first came to Dearborn in 2012 as one of 12 sculptures on temporary exhibit through the city’s Art in Public Places – Midwest Sculpture Initiative, which is funded by the Dearborn Community Fund with support from the Downtown Development Authorities in east and west Dearborn.
Children and adults alike noted that the horse was one of their favorite sculptures from among the dozens that have been exhibited across the city over the past few years. Made of recycled materials, metal and found objects, “Gaze” is particularly appealing to some because it includes some recycled Ford Mustang parts.
When another city expressed interest in purchasing “Gaze” from Oleson, the DCF had just two weeks in which to raise the $16,000 needed to purchase the life-size horse sculpture to ensure it would stay in Dearborn.
City Councilman and Kenwal Steel president and chief operating officer David Bazzy and his wife, Cherie, work out regularly in the fitness area at the Ford Center. Cherie Bazzy is one of many Dearborn residents who had become enamored with the sculpture.
“Cherie thought it was majestic and fit the spirit of Dearborn,” David Bazzy said. So when the couple learned that the sculpture might be moved forever from the city, they quickly worked to help raise the money to purchase “Gaze.”
David Bazzy said that after he and Eisenberg discussed the sculpture and its importance to the community, Kenwal joined the Bazzys in donating the $16,000 to keep the mustang in Dearborn.
O’Reilly said it’s appropriate that “Gaze” stays in Dearborn, home of Ford Motor Co. and its iconic Mustang, which was manufactured at the former Dearborn Assembly Plant for decades.
The public is welcome to visit “Gaze” in its new location on the south lawn at the Ford Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.
The mission of the nonprofit DCF is to support cultural and recreational projects to enhance the quality of life in Dearborn. Additional initiatives funded through public donations include awarding grants for community based projects; partnerships with the Dearborn Public Schools on the Youth in Arts Festival and Pockets of Perception, a year-long project that encourages multicultural understanding and creativity as high school students produce public art (currently a mural for City Hall Artspace Lofts); and partnering with the city to present the Dearborn Homecoming festival.
The DCF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Donations to DCF projects are tax deductible to the full extent permitted under law.
For more information, contact the DCF office at 313-943-5478 or find the DCF on Facebook or at www.dearborncommunityfund.org.