The 6-foot bronze statue of Downtown Eugene Brown in front of The Schlow Centre Regional Library and the Centre Area Transportation Authority on Beaver Avenue is waiting for the bus.
He is wearing headphones, reading a tablet and carrying a copy of “Great Expectations” in his pocket, and, from time to time, may be dressed up with scarves, hats or flowers, depending on the mood of passers-by. The model for the sculpture was Garnder’s 86 year-old grandfather, who likes new technologies.
Eugene was commissioned by The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts on behalf of CATA and Schlow Library and was funded by Rich and Sally Kalin. More than 100 entries were submitted in competition for the piece, and the finalist was selected by a jury composed of the three organizations, a panel of outside experts, artists and residents. Arts Festival executive director Rick Bryant said the statue was a culmination of two years of planning.
“This project was a wonderful opportunity to enhance downtown State College and work with two local institutions, Schlow Library, and CATA. We’re looking forward to seeing how the public interacts with the work.” Artist Gavin Gardner, wanted to portray how today’s libraries are changing.
“The work commemorates the meeting of paper books and technology and the welcoming of a new era,” he said. Gavin Gardner was born in 1977 and grew up in Frederick, Maryland. He graduated in 2000 with a BFA in sculpture from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT. Lyme Academy offers a classical European training and specializes in figurative art. He established a graduate program at the Savannah College of Arts and Design in September, 2014
Gardner won the Dexter Jones Award from the National Sculpture Society, and the Museum Award for sculpture from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, MD for his relief sculptures. His work has been represented by galleries in California and from Virginia to New England. You can Twitter Eugene at @DTEugeneBrown