SVSU museum celebrates Spirit of Detroit sculpture - WNEM TV 5

SVSU museum celebrates Spirit of Detroit sculpture

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

An iconic statue in the heart of the Motor City celebrates a big birthday this year and it has a Mid-Michigan connection.

The Spirit of Detroit turns 60-years-old next month. Detroit and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum will host the party.

A documentary released in 1959 covers the completion, installation and dedication of the statue the previous year.

Marshall Fredericks was hired to create the work in 1955 for a cost of $58,000.

Marilyn Wheaton is the director of the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University. She talked about how Fredericks felt about his famous piece of art.

“It meant a great deal to him to have the honor and the privilege to create something for the people of Detroit,” Wheaton said.

You can see a quarter-scale model of the sculpture at SVSU, along with the original plaster of the statue’s head.

Other works at the museum include a plaster from the cross in the woods in Indian River, busts of John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill.

Fredericks didn’t live in Mid-Michigan, but he was a close friend of local famed architect Alden B. Dow.

“Alden B. Dow reintroduced Marshall Fredericks to his niece Honey Dorothy Doan Arbury. She was then married to Ned Arbury of Midland. Honey Arbury was on the board of control of SVSU and her and her husband Ned became very close friends with Fred and his wife Rosylyn,” Wheaton said.

That friendship led to Honey and Ned Arbury raising money to create the gallery you can see today.

The folks at the museum hope you can celebrate at the big anniversary in Detroit on May 12.

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