“A tribute to hardworking people”…
…is how artist Jim Benedict describes his sculpture Hammer Tribute. The idea for this monumental hammer sculpture grew from Benedict’s experiences as a small-town kid growing up in a rural town in southern Iowa. Most of the town was “Blue Collar” and he wanted to make a sculpture that could be a tribute to these hardworking people.
Hammer Tribute was created out of a pallet of Pittsburgh steel from the John Deere plant in Waterloo, Iowa. The steel plates are 5 to 6 times thicker than the metal sheets used for car bodies. After cutting, forming, and welding Benedict took the piece to be galvanized at Valmont Industries in Valley, Nebraska, which is the largest galvanizing facility in the country. The hot-dip galvanization process is just as it sounds. The sculpture was dipped into several vats to remove any impurities from the surface and then dipped into a gigantic pool of molten zinc. This process coated the sculpture with a layer of zinc, inside and out. The coating was applied at twice the thickness of industry standard. Not only is the finish beautiful, it is also very resilient and trouble free…”
Benedict’s Website: www.jimbenedict.com
Benedict’s Art Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/BenedictArt
Audio Tour: Hear Benedict tell you about his piece
Newport News Television Video: Unveiling Hammer Tribute
Transcription of Audio Tour:
I’m Jim Benedict, a public artist, instructor and arts advocate from Jacksonville, Florida. I’m the sculptor of Hammer Tribute on the corner of Canon and City Center Boulevards.
Hammer Tribute is a steel sculpture created out of a pallet of Pittsburgh steel from the John Deere plant in Waterloo, Iowa. It was galvanized at Valmont Industries in Valley, Nebraska, which is the largest galvanizing facility in the country. Hammer Tribute was created as a testament to the industrious, hardworking people of my small rural hometown in Southern Iowa.
Public art is an exercise in community building. It is the physical manifestation of a community’s investment in its cultural identity. It is an honor to have Hammer Tribute become part of the cultural landscape of Newport News.
Artist: Jim Benedict
Details: Galvanized steel on granite, 16′ tall
Installed: June 2017
Site: Corner of Canon and City Center Boulevards
About The Artist: JIM BENEDICT
Jim Benedict is a public artist, arts instructor, and advocate for the arts. Over the last 15 years, he has produced works for public and private collections across the country. As the Associate Professor of Sculpture at Jacksonville University (JU), in Jacksonville, Florida, Benedict has completed 9 large-scale public art projects with his students.
His work in public art also extends to community outreach. He hosted a public art symposium for the city of Jacksonville, Florida. The panel of artist spoke to community, business, and cultural leaders from the Northeast Florida community. His public art advocacy has taken him across the country to talk about the value and importance of public art, and he continues this mission in the classroom.
Benedict received his BFA, in Sculpture, from University of Northern Iowa and MFA, in 3D Studio Art, from the University of Arizona.