The Textor Ball now has some company. On June 1, the Ithaca College campus welcomed its newest piece of remarkable and eye-catching public art: “The Drummer,” an eight-foot tall bronze sculpture created by Welsh artist Barry Flanagan. The 550-pound piece, which depicts a hare playing a drum, has taken up residence in the greenspace flanked by Smiddy Hall, the Center for Health Sciences, and Dillingham Center.
The sculpture was bequeathed to the college through the estate of Dorothy H. Park, who passed away on June 18, 2016. Mrs. Park and her husband, Roy H. Park, were generous in their philanthropy to Ithaca College, supporting the creation of the Park Scholars Program, the Park Center for Independent Media, and the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. Mrs. Park also personally funded the construction of the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise.
With the arrival of “The Drummer,” Ithaca College joins the ranks of a handful of prestigious institutions that count Flanagan’s work among their collections. The artist’s hare sculpture titled “Thinker on a Rock” (a nod to Rodin’s classic) is one of 21 pieces featured in the National Gallery of Art’s outdoor sculpture garden in Washington, D.C., and rests alongside works by Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, and Joan Miró. Flanagan’s art is also included in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery in London, the MoMA in New York, and other world-class museums.
Flanagan, who died in 2009 at age 68, was known best for his series of hare sculptures, the first of which he created in 1979. Upon his death, the Independent (UK) wrote of the artist: “There is no pretension in Flanagan's work — his bronzes can be mighty, even heroic, but never pompous.”