Statue Artist Talks About Arthur Mellette Statue and TOG Project

John Lopez at Installation for Governor Mellette Statue July 19, 2013 (KGFX Photo)


PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Friday brought the installation of two more statues in Pierre which depict past South Dakota Governors.  Art pieces honoring former Governors Arthur Mellette and Frank Farrar were put in place at two locations in Pierre on Friday morning.  The first to be added to what is being called the “Trail of Governors Project” was Farrar’s statue-which was erected in front of First National Bank along Sioux Avenue.  The second statue-that of Governor Mellette-was placed in front of the Hughes County Courthouse.   The artist that created the Mellette statue-John Lopez-was on hand to help with the installation of both pieces Friday.  Lopez was also part of Rapid City’s “City of Presidents” project, which features a series of life-size bronze statues of the nation’s leaders.  He created 12 of the statues of former Presidents and says he became part of the Trail of Governors just after the Rapid City project was completed.

Lopez says putting the statues up is the final step in the process for each statue-and it takes a little time to complete.

Before starting the Mellette statue, Lopez says he did some research into Mellette’s life to help decide what the statue would look like.

The Mellette statue was completed last year, along with the statues of Harlan Bushfield and Walt Miller. Miller and Bushfield were put in place in 2012.  Work had to be done to create an alcove in front of the courthouse, before the Mellette statue could be put in its new home.  Now, Lopez is working on a statue of former Governor Mike Rounds.  He says he has met with Rounds and is currently working on a concept of the art piece.

Besides Farrar, two other statues were unveiled at the Capitol last month.  The statues of Harvey Wollman and Bill Janklow are expected to be placed somewhere along a trail from the Capitol Grounds to downtown Pierre sometime in the coming months.

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