Kitchener-Waterloo

St. Jacob's sculptor Tim Schmalz makes bronze tribute to Gordon Lightfoot

St. Jacob's sculptor Tim Schmalz is making a larger-than-life statue of Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot, to be unveiled this summer at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia.
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      St. Jacob's sculptor Tim Schmalz is working on a larger-than-life statue of Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot, which will be unveiled this summer at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia.

      The 13-foot bronze sculpture will depict Lightfoot sitting with his legs crossed and playing an acoustic guitar, with hundreds of maple leaves rising up from the instrument and into the air above him. 

      Schmalz, known for his sculptures depicting Jesus as a homeless man, intends to sculpt 22 of Lightfoot's best-known songs onto the maple leaves that surround the image of the folk singer.

      "What I wanted to do is create a sculpture that, when someone approaches, it's not just a sound-bite or a visual-bite, but it's something that someone can stay and look at for more than three minutes," he said. 

      It was a mixture of nostalgia and nationalism that compelled Schmalz to make the sculpture. 

      "In a sense, Lightfoot's songs are the soundtrack of my early years," he said. "When you look at an artist like Gordon Lightfoot, he kind of shows us, through his music, ideas about what it's like to be Canadian."

      When the statue is finished, it will be shipped to Orillia and set up on the Lightfoot Trail in Tudhope Park.

      Schmalz hopes to unveil his masterpiece during the Mariposa Folk Festival.

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