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This project was successfully funded on September 8, 2017


by Donna Dobberfuhl


"Weeping Father" was conceived around 1999, when the true story was relayed to me.  A horrible tragedy that stayed with me day in and day out.  I rendered it in the abstract and later in the figurative tradition, in 3-D, and in relief.  I am a student of humanity and it afforded me the opportunity to express the story, to speak to my sensibilities as an artist.  The opportunity to show this work to over 300,000 people in a short span of 19 days this fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan an event called "ArtPrize" is truely a gift and I so want to share this work. 

The work is on a large scale or rather on the human scale with the figures portrayed in the bas-relief style in cast bronze, mounted on stainless steel panels depicting the story of tragedy and triumph through the sculpting of the 6 figures I have been able to relay the story to the viewer.  The piece is nearly complete and will be finished in June this year.

I first sculpted the figures in small scale, approximately 4' tall, but that didn't work.  So the full scale figures accomplished the goal.  The goal being touching your heart, reminding us of our humanity: A theme I follow in my work.

I accomplished the task by sculpting the figures in clay on 7' wood panels, using poses to describe the crushing blow, the collapse, and finally the upright figure of triumph.  After the clay work, made master moulds of each figure.  The moulds were used to reproduce a transitional image that was used to cast the designs in bronze. I hired a metal artist that fabricates art works and he constructed the large steel frames with stainless steel panels attached measuring 7' tall x 40" wide x 4" thick and weigh a total of 3000lbs. The figures are attached to the panels and are on both sides.  Four of the poses are repeated front and back with a unique triumph figure on the last panel.  The complete design stands in an arc pattern, with tragedy on the inner arc and triumph on the outer portion.

Now I have to get "Weeping Father" to the venue in Grand Rapids.  $15,000 will complete the preparations.  Two panels are yet to be completely finished.  The sculpture will be crated, and shipped to its destination.  I am required to hire personnel to set-up the sculpture and I will drive up and stay the entire 19 days, I retained a room at a Airbnb. At the end of the show the re-crating of the sculpture and shipping it home safely is the next step.  Then the drive home.  There, of course, is the necessity of insurance for the scupture and liability protection. Why am I driving?  When one is driving one is in the "right-brain" mode and I get my ideas and most difficult questions answered during that time.

When more funds are raised then are needed to accomplish the exhibition of "Weeping Father" in Grand Rapids then I will have the opportunity to exhibit the sculpture in other venues, in and around my home town and region which is very exciting to me.

Just think how powerful a message will be sent out...joining in the thought that our humanity can bring; solace, love and resolution to our own life stories.  I thank each of you so much for your help and just maybe I might be able to shake your hand when we meet to view this special work of art.

Thank you, Donna D.