When Jim Bodell moved to Macon from Oregon, he brought with him a rich background in metal working and a strong affinity for the arts.
It did not take long for Macon to embrace his talent as a sculptor — his pieces are on display in the gallery at Macon Arts Alliance and the exhibitions in which he has been a participant have been well received. As his reputation has grown, he has been engaged for more public projects, some of Herculean proportions.
After Mercer University converted the former Georgia Music Hall of Fame to offices and clinics for the medical school, Bodell was given the task of creating a sculpture for the three-story atrium lobby that would represent the administration building on Mercer’s main campus, the landmark that everyone associates with Mercer.
In doing so, Bodell’s mathematical skills were put to the test.
“On every step of this project I have used trigonometry to work on the angles for a sculpture to fit in that lobby,” he remarked about the 70-degree corner where the sculpture would be installed. Additionally, the angles of the spires and of the facade had to be proportioned to fit in a corner with the correct perspective.
Because the 35-foot sculpture had to fit through the double entrance doors of the building, Bodell built it in three sections, a base, the model of the main story of the administration building and the level with the spires. It could not be constructed of heavy metal, for installation would require scissor lifts, which have weight limitations. Aluminum, a light metal, was the final choice, to be finished with an oil-bronzed patina.
On Jan. 7, the base, or riser, for the sculpture was installed. The following Saturday, the other two pieces — the body of the administration building and the spires — followed. We were spectators to the second phase of installation last weekend, standing close to the sculpture before it was lifted into place. To see the intricacy of the detail and the attention to the finish on this imposing sculpture added to our admiration for Bodell’s talent.
The detail of the bricks is perfectly etched into the aluminum, the brick molding is precise in proportion and the gothic spires are majestic reaching toward the ceiling of the lobby. The sculpture can be seen through the exterior glass walls and from the upper stories of the building, which look down on the lobby.
It is a tribute to Mercer’s legacy and to Bodell, whose talent has contributed to the restoration of Macon’s history.
The Wesleyan College market, held the second Saturday of each month on the college’s Forsyth Road campus, enjoyed premature spring temperatures last weekend, which had attracted a respectable crowd by the time the vendors had arranged their wares under their miniature white tents at 9 a.m.
Our local markets, including the Mulberry Market in Tatnall Square Park and the Bolingbroke market, started as popular sources for organically produced food. However, the inventory has expanded with handmade jewelry, toys and other crafts dominating the second Saturday at Wesleyan.
The smooth finish and rounded corners on Mike Collins’ miniature trains and trucks make them safe for little hands. At Wooden Treasures, Collins can reproduce in wood any toy imaginable — from airplanes to those metal cars and play sets that disappeared from toy boxes years ago. The cars of his train sets are made in several sizes and can be attached to create a train that can travel the floor of a child’s bedroom.
Collins also does custom work, replicating memories of homes or of furniture that have nostalgic value to the collector. Look for him at the next Wesleyan market on Feb. 11 or contact him by e-mail at email@example.com.
For the avid bird watcher, Gretta and Frank Duncum print note cards featuring their photographs of the “backyard birds of Macon, Georgia,” according to Frank’s blog. The cards are sold in boxes of 10, with matching envelopes and an extra one, added on the advice of Gretta, who convinced Frank that “you always need one in case of a mistake.” Included in their display were coasters and other keepsakes decorated with native, colorful birds.
There were a few food vendors at Wesleyan’s market who have participated in the Middle Georgia markets since sustainable farms and organic gardens raised the awareness of consumers for chemical-free foods.
Robin and Kerry Dunaway, owners of Greenway Farms in Roberta, brought their freshly cut meats and newly harvested vegetables to Wesleyan’s market last weekend. Several customers, who must be regulars, were waiting, grocery lists in hand, to stock their freezers for another month, then reward themselves with a handcrafted cookie from Lisa Vitale’s tent. Now, that is more fun than going to the grocery store!