The Dave Niehaus statue
I had the pleasure of meeting the artist who will sculpt the Dave Niehaus sculpture this afternoon. Lou Cella of the Roblatt Amrany Fine Art Studio in Chicago was at the park today. Cella and his studio are responsible for many fine sculptures in sports including the Harry Caray at Wrigley Field, The Six Detroit Tigers (which I love) and Ernie Harwell at Comerica Park in Detroit, Carlton Fisk at US Cellular and the Michael Jordan Statue in Chicago.
Cella was in Seattle to talk to those close to Dave to get a better feel for who he was and what he meant to this area. Not only did he visit the ballpark but he went to the Niehaus home and spent time with his wife Marilyn as well. Cella is working off more than just a picture.
“I have looked at video, watched famous games, watched interviews of Dave talking about the Hall of Fame,” Cella said, “but I needed to come to Seattle and I really needed to feel the connection between the fans here and what Dave meant and I really got it.
“We are not just creating a likeness, we are capturing a personality. We are communicating a personality.”
There are challenges to sculpting a broadcaster. With the athlete there are recognizable features throughout the body. People recognize the swing, the stance the movement as well as the face. With the broadcaster it is different.
“With Dave Niehaus that face is going to be everything.” Cella said. “There is no batting stance. There is certain body language yes, but that face has got to have everything. That face has got to have all of his personality. People have to look at it and feel like they are seeing their broadcaster, the person that reminds them of summertime.”
Work on the statue has already begun. The statue will depict Dave sitting behind a desk with a microphone. The artist said that it is supposed to have an engaging, inviting feel. It will be an interactive piece with an open seat where people can sit next to him.
“Dave was a person who welcomed other people,” Cella said. “You could approach him. You could talk to him. He treated you like a friend and that’s what I want people to feel like when they see this piece. I want them to know that they can go right up to it and be with him. There will be no hesitation, it will look like that’s what it is here for it is Dave saying come on over for an interview, come on over for a picture.”
The statue is scheduled to be unveiled in September. Before then officials from the Mariners will visit the studio to give feedback at different stages of the process. We have been invited to stop by when we are in Chicago to take on the White Sox and see the progress. I can’t wait to see it.
More information about the artist and studio can be found at rotblattamrany.com.