Gene Kennedy is one of 17 Haines artists participating in the Alaska Arts Confluence’s Fort Seward sculpture garden.
It’s one of the largest public art projects in the town’s history. And history is a big part of Kennedy’s piece. He’s using his welding and building skills to recreate a photograph taken in the early 1900’s at Fort Seward.
“These are pictures I found at the museum of a soldier boy with his dog cart,” Kennedy said. “And 20, 30 years ago, Norm Blank gave me a dog cart that came from Haines in the teens or 20’s. So those two things combined, and I got this inspiration to weld a full-size dog and match it up to the cart Norm Blank gave me.”
Kennedy hopes to set it in the same place as the historical picture from the 1920’s.
He’s used a little toy dog, and his own dog, Happy, as models for the dog he’s welding out of pieces of re-bar.
“It’s just the satisfaction of making something,” Kennedy says about what he enjoys in welding. “In real life, I’m a plumber. I like that because it’s fixing things, it’s making things work. So I guess that’s my justification for life. It’s the sort of underpinnings of my creative desires — to make things work.”
He hopes his piece will spark people’s curiosity about Haines history.
“I think this sculpture may persuade people to look a little closer at the Fort.”
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