Standing Tall
 
 

Sept. 16, 2005

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    Nile Kinnick, the individual for whom the University of Iowa's football stadium is named, stands tall and virtually without peer in the history of football at the UI.

    His name is also attached to the highest level of philanthropic support recognized by the National I-Club - the Kinnick Society. That group will gather tonight at Kinnick Stadium and at Duane Banks Field for the annual Kinnick Society Dinner.

    In August 2006, the phrases "Nile Kinnick" and "standing tall and without peer" will take on new meanings for members of the Kinnick Socieity, thousands of friends of the University of Iowa, and fans of the current student-athletes at the UI who come to Iowa City to watch the Hawkeyes compete inside Kinnick Stadium.


    It is then that a 12-foot bronze statue of the UI's 1939 Heisman Trophy winner will be installed atop a four-foot base immediately south of the center of the new south grandstand. It will overlook the threshold where the Krause Family Plaza embraces the UI's beloved football stadium and greet those who use the new main entrance to the game-day home of the Hawkeyes.

    Larry Nowlan, the sculptor commissioned by the University of Iowa to produce two pieces of art for installation at Kinnick Stadium as part of the UI's $87 million renovation of the facility, is - with the delicate skill of a trained artisan - crafting a work of inspiration that embodies not only all that Nile Kinnick, Jr., himself stood for, but all that intercollegiate athletics stands for - the combination of the desire to reach beyond one's grasp both academically and athletically.




    The artist has tackled the Kinnick project in a very logical progression. He read about Kinnick. Listened to stories about him. Watched film of him and even met members of his extended family. When it came time to create the 12-foot statue of him, he took his original 4-foot studio model and broke the work into two pieces - six feet or so from below the belt and the six-feet above.


    Nowlan has captured Kinnick in a pose reminiscent of that which he struck on the steps of Old Capital shortly before his departure for New York City and the Downtown Athletic Club where he was presented the Heisman Trophy as the college football's top student-athlete in 1939.

    Kinnick has a textbook and a notebook in his right hand at his hip. In his left hand, he clenches his game jersey - complete with the number "24" - flung over his left shoulder. He is wearing a shirt, tie, a vest closed by a zipper, his letterwinner's jacket, khaki-like trousers and dress shoes. In other words - to those who knew him and those who have studied him - he is dressed as Nile Kinnick, Jr., would dress for a day on the UI campus.

    Nowlan works out of a studio in Windsor, Vermont and has twice been awarded residency at the retreat and museum of renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who Nowlan acknowledges as one of his inspirations for many of his projects.

    The artist has tackled the Kinnick project in a very logical progression. He read about Kinnick. Listened to stories about him. Watched film of him and even met members of his extended family. When it came time to create the 12-foot statue of him, he took his original 4-foot studio model and broke the work into two pieces - six feet or so from below the belt and the six-feet above.

    A close up of Kinnick's left hand reveals the detail of the sculpture.



    The level of detail on the finished areas - primarily the lower half - is impressive. Holes in buttons, zippers, belt loops and shoe laces all are visible and easily identifiable. During the next three weeks, Nowlan will turn his full attention to providing the same level of detail to the upper half and, most notably, the distinctive features of Kinnick's face.

    "It is impressive from many different perspectives. It is large. It has outstanding detail. And it has captured the true qualities and essence of Nile Kinnick," said UI Senior Associate Jane Meyer, who noted the obvious: Few fans of the Hawkeyes will view this version of Kinnick eye-to-eye.





    Additional pictures of the statue of Nile Kinnick and the relief of Kinnick's touchdown are available insid kinnickrenovation.com, the official world wide web site of the renovation of historick Kinnick Stadium.

    To go there, click HERE.



    When Nowlan strikes the finishing touch and a variety of UI staff and others agree that the image is acceptable, casts of the finished product will be made and freighted to Colorado where the process that takes the casts and creates the final bronze statue is completed.

    The second piece of art commissioned by the UI and being produced by Nowlan is a relief of Kinnick's famous touchdown against Notre Dame during his Heisman Award-winning season. The relief will also be bronzed. It will be installed in a space approximately 9-feet tall, 18-feet wide and 4-feet deep located on the interior wall of the south grandstand's concourse. This space rests, visually, directly behind the location of the statue of Kinnick and will be framed by the center of the three arches on the south grandstand's façade. >

    The relief will contain 11 student-athletes and one game official. Kinnick will project out of the relief and into the stadium's concourse. This second project commissioned by the UI will become Nowlan's exclusive focus once the statue of Kinnick has been successfully completed and shipped west.

    "Together, these pieces of art will be striking and inspirational," said Meyer.


     

     


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    The head and shoulders of the clay model of the statue of 1939 Heisman Award-winning Nile Kinnick being created for display outside the UI's football stadium.
     
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