- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Glenna Goodacre lifts an old blade, still sharp, from the table in her white-walled Santa Fe studio.

It was her favorite. Why?

“Because I could cut the bejeezus out of it!” the sculptor shouts.

Goodacre’s eyes brightened as she picked through trimmers and calipers she used to create her famous works. She remembers the tools well. They are old friends. She used the smallest to sculpt the image of Sacagawea that appears on the gold-colored U.S. dollar coin, first circulated in 2000.

She used others, some inscribed “G. Goodacre” in distinctive vertical script, to fashion the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as well as a bronze statue of Ronald Reagan that stands 8 feet tall outside the entrance to the Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California.

Now the feisty 77-year-old sculptor is calling it a career, reported the Santa Fe New Mexican (https://bit.ly/2dZk6cf). Her manager is overseeing the destruction of her molds, uncommon for a living artist, though representative of the definitive nature of her retirement.

Her books, her leftover clay and many, many tools sit in boxes - useful but, at the moment, unused.

They now have a bright future.

Goodacre gifted the books and tools en masse to the New Mexico School for the Arts, where a new generation will use them to tell untold stories, as she did for half a century.

“I have spent years and years and years studying art,” Goodacre said. “I wish I had to do it all over again.”

The materials she’s giving away, she said, flow from her desire to spread opportunity. Goodacre, who has lived in Santa Fe since 1983, recognizes that many young people have fewer chances than she did, and she wants to help.

She grew up in a wealthy family in Lubbock, Texas. As a teenager, she traveled to Europe, where she was inspired by the great works of Michelangelo, Bernini, “all the boys,” she said with a smile. She became a painter, and later on, in 1969, after a bit of encouragement from author and gallery owner Forrest Fenn, a fellow Texan who had settled in New Mexico, she gave sculpting a go.

A prolific go, as it turned out. Goodacre sculpted more than 600 works in her 50-year career. She became a fellow of the National Sculpture Society, received the Texas Medal of Arts and a lifetime achievement award from Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. Her works have been displayed at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., on a PBS documentary and in a 240-page book. A street in Lubbock, only one block south of the Texas Tech football stadium, is named Glenna Goodacre Boulevard.

Beyond the National Mall and Reagan Library installations, notable Goodacre sculptures include the massive Irish Memorial in Philadelphia, which features more than 20 life-size bronze figures; a tribute to the founders of the Mayo Clinic, 10 1/2 feet tall, that now sits at a Mayo hospital in Phoenix; and a statue of decorated Army football coach Earl “Red” Blaik, who led the U.S. Military Academy to three consecutive national championships in the 1940s. The National Football Foundation donated the Blaik sculpture to the academy in 2015.

“Among the qualities her sculptures communicate by means of gesture, texture and realistic ideation are innocence, humor, heroism, kindness, genius, history, triumph, tragedy, pathos and love,” wrote critic Wolfgang Mabry in Sculpture Review, “and they have found clear and moving expression in her varied and prodigious output.”

“I just had a great opportunity,” Goodacre said. “I’m very fortunate.”

Dan Anthony, Goodacre’s assistant and business manager since 1987, said it is unusual for a living artist to destroy her molds. Molds are typically destroyed after an artist’s death, he said, because the value of potential castings would be subject to an estate tax. But “we are really calling it quits and destroying them,” he said. Goodacre’s molds in Santa Fe have already been broken. Those at foundries in Colorado and Arizona are next, Anthony said.

Karina Hean, visual arts chairwoman of the New Mexico School for the Arts, and Jacob Sisneros, a visual arts instructor, received the dozens of boxes and began moving them to campus. Having thanked Goodacre for the materials, which included four sculptures for display, Hean and Sisneros had to discuss where they would keep all of it.

For now, space concerns, from a curriculum perspective, are a good problem to have.

In her studio, Goodacre recalled some of the crowning opportunities of her career. The Sacagawea coin was one of the first she mentioned.

“I’ll never forget when the call came,” she said. “They had a competition. I’m a competitive old girl.”

The final design of the coin was unveiled at a White House ceremony in May 1999 by then-first lady Hillary Clinton.

After a long and sometimes controversial design process punctuated by debate over the depiction of a Native American woman, Goodacre told The Washington Post, “It’s amazing to me to think that I’ll have a small piece of sculpture in people’s pockets for years.”

At the New Mexico School for the Arts, she knows, they’ll have more than that.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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