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Permanent beach walkers coming to Rockport

'Beach Day' by artist Kathy Wardle is a three-quarter-life-size bronze sculpture of a happy beach-bound family. It will be installed in Rockport on May 4. Courtesy photo

Residents and visitors are welcome to attend an all-day installation of “Beach Day,” a commissioned bronze sculpture, on Wednesday, May 4, at Rockport Center for the Arts, 401 S. Austin St. in downtown Rockport.

Created by nationally recognized figurative sculptor Kathy Wardle, the 700-pound work was commissioned with a contribution from an anonymous donor. The donor, Wardle, and RCA staff conceptualized the design with Rockport in mind. It depicts a family of five walking the beach. The piece is three-quarters of a life-size sculpture.

The sculpture will be displayed at the intersection of South Austin and Wharf streets on the same block as the new $12.3 million RCA campus currently under construction.

“In 2019, we began work to find a representational sculpture that had a deep connection to who we are in the small coastal community of Rockport, Texas,” said Luis Purón, RCA executive director. “Wardle is one of six artists we interviewed, and her design for ‘Beach Day’ surfaced as the strongest candidate because the concept was specifically tied to our community.”

The process for producing a bronze sculpture requires several intricate steps. Wardle completed the clay molding in spring 2021. It was then resized to produce a 3-D foam version. Materials such as rubber, plaster, wax, ceramic, wax, silica, and sand are used in the process of the final molding before the bronze is poured in sections.

Over 30 pieces were poured and then welded together and re-sculpted into the five figures. Specialized tools were used to match the original clay sculpture. Patina was added as the final step.

The Colorado-based Wardle holds a master's degree in visual arts and studied with internationally acclaimed artists. She has taught three-dimensional design and created representational sculptures in bronze for four decades.

“I attempt to depict humankind’s finest traits in my artwork,” Wardle said. “‘Beach Day’ shows a family filled with love and joy as they head to the beach for a wonderful day of fun and togetherness.”

“Beach Day” is one of 17 pieces in the Rockport Center for the Arts' public permanent collection.

“One of our primary goals has been to use sculpture to create a conversation about art that stretches from downtown Rockport to the new campus on Austin Street and on to the sculptures that are part of the permanent collection located near Aransas Bay and Little Bay,” Purón said.

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There are 1 comments.

Charlie —
When did Rockport get a beach?

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