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Posted on: August 3, 2020

Local artist creates "Hope" sculpture honoring Galveston's history

Hope sculpture

We’re thrilled that Galveston resident Doug McLean’s beautiful sculpture, "Hope," will have a home in a new city park on the historic City Hall grounds later this year. 

Please see the press release from the Galveston Sculpture nonprofit organization:

"Doug McLean has been preserving and honoring Galveston’s history for more than 40 years. His first project was chief blacksmith during the restoration of the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa in 1980. He has worked on many Galveston landmarks through the years and now, he is directing his talent to a sculpture entitled “Hope.”

This sculpture depicts a woman holding an infant with a child clinging to her side as she marches forward over a mound of debris of bricks and timbers. The determination and emotion is striking. “Hope” is McLean’s interpretation of a plaster study called “Victims of Galveston” created in 1904 by Pompeo Coppini, an Italian born sculptor, who had worked on other projects across the country with many in Texas. The plaster study had been presented to the City of Galveston in 1904 and leaders declined to see the project completed.

“When I first saw the few surviving photos of the sculpture I was struck by the powerful image and the anguish on the face of the female figure,” says McLean. “I felt I needed to challenge myself to create my own interpretation of this lost work.”

He began working on his version molded in plasticine, a clay-based material, in 2016 and estimates he has spent approximately 1,500 hours on the sculpture. He plans to spend up to another 100 hours to perfect this tribute with details. The sculpture will be placed in the new city park located at 823 Rosenberg.

“I want to memorialize those lost in the 1900 Storm and honor the survivors for their strength and courage to move forward and rebuild in what is still considered one of our country’s greatest reconstruction efforts,” he says. “It is also important to me to honor the powerful role of women in our island’s history who through their maternal love, community involvement, philanthropy, strong influence on governmental policies, and emphasis on education in our community all provided the best for future generations.”

McLean is continuing to seek donors to fund the molding and casting of the sculpture. The bronze casting will be done in a foundry in Smithville, TX. His goal is for “Hope” to be installed by the end of the year in the city’s new park. This year marks 120 years since the 1900 Storm devastated Galveston.

For more information on the “Hope” sculpture, visit Galveston Sculpture is a non-profit organization filed in the State of Texas with 501(c)(3) status pending with the IRS.

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