Model of J.W. 'Blind' Boone sculpture to be unveiled

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | 6:05 p.m. CDT; updated 7:13 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 28, 2010

COLUMBIA — One obstacle sculptor Harry Weber has to overcome is creating the illusion of motion in a still sculpture.

"Nothing moves like a piano player's fingers," said Weber, a St. Louis artist who was commissioned to create a sculpture of J.W. "Blind" Boone, one of the pioneers of early jazz and ragtime music.

The piece will be displayed in a planned Tribute Garden on the grounds of the city-owned J.W. "Blind" Boone Home., 10 N. Fourth St. Other planned additions will be an amphitheater for outdoor performances and recitals, as well as pavers engraved with the names of people who have overcome challenges or inspired others during their lifetimes, according to a news release from Clyde Ruffin, chairman of the J.W. "Blind" Boone Heritage Foundation.

A scale model of Weber's sculpture will be unveiled during a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the MU Reynolds Alumni Center. The model will be about one-third the size of the finished sculpture, which Weber said will be life-size. It will depict Boone playing a piano.

The "Blind" Boone home has undergone many outside renovations since the city bought it in 2000. Boone lived in the home from 1889 until his death in 1927, according to a previous Missourian article.

Weber wanted to capture the motion of Boone playing music in his sculpture, which he said was hard to do working only from a picture.

Weber's work is on display all over the country, including the Museum of Fine Arts in Newport, R.I., and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. His twice-life-size monument of Lewis and Clark looks over the St. Louis waterfront, and his sculptures of St. Louis Cardinal greats — Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, "Cool Papa" Bell, Rogers Horsnby and Jack Buck — stand outside Busch Stadium in Champions Plaza.

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