Friday, August 29, 2008

Eliot Residents Bring HOPE to National Convention

By Joe Hessert
Staff Columnist

Local artists Lauren Holmgren and Josh Dow are in Colorado this week to see their giant steel HOPE sculpture unveiled at the Democratic National Convention. Standing six feet high and mounted on a solid base, the sculpture was the result of months of hard work.
“We were asked whether we could do a larger sculpture,” Josh said in Green Foundry in Eliot before leaving for the convention, “and it turned out to be for Robert Indiana.” Indiana, who was born in Maine and lives in Vinalhaven was looking for a local foundry where the HOPE sculpture (similar to his iconic “LOVE” piece in the ‘60s) could be produced in a short period of time for the convention.
“The timeframe was so short,” said Holmgren who started work on the piece with Dow on June 23. They shipped the finished sculpture out to Colorado last week on the twenty-first of July. Lauren and Josh did the bulk of the work themselves, but enlisted the help of friends from the Massachusetts College of Art to help with final assembly.
“It was exciting,” Lauren said of their work on the project, which is both the highest profile piece they’ve done and the physically largest. “You go to art school,” Josh added, “and you know that maybe five percent of the people there will work in the arts. And not only do we get to do that every day, but two years after finishing school this giant art project falls out of the sky and lands in our lap. It’s pretty special.”
“And humbling,” said Lauren. “It made me appreciate the work we do every day.” Josh agreed. “Working with molten metal and being my own boss is the perfect fit for me,” said Josh who enjoys the challenge of his work.
Lauren, trained in sculpture, “loves being able to bring something from clay to bronze, from impermanent to permanent.” Making HOPE permanent at their foundry in Eliot was something that she was happy to be a part of.
The pair offers metalworking classes at the Green Foundry in Eliot through Sanctuary Arts. For more information or to sign up for a class visit
Caption: Lauren Holmgren and Josh Dow from Green Foundry in Eliot fabricated this Stainless Steel HOPE sculpture for the Democratic National Convention. (Courtesy photo)