Mississippi College

MC School of Law Mounts New Sam Gore Sculpture

June 1, 2009

Sam's Gore's newest bronze sculpture at the Mississippi College School of Law is already getting fantastic reviews.

Depicting Jesus Christ and his disciples on the Mount, the nearly 3,000-pound sculpture was mounted on an exterior wall of the downtown law school today. Formal dedication ceremonies are scheduled for June 17. Standing 12-feet tall, the sculpture is hard to miss for visitors walking by the campus along East Griffith Street.

With the help of a crane and construction crews, Gore's magnificent artwork now rests beside Moses the Lawgiver. His newest work is known as "Christ: the Fulfillment of the Law." It took the 81-year-old artist from Clinton eight months to work on it starting with three sheets of plywood at his home. Work on the sculpture was completed in recent months at the Lugar Foundry near Memphis.

"I think it is a great addition - and it is appropriately placed," said Andrew Stubbs, a 2009 MCSOL graduate moments after the new artwork made its debut on a sunny June 1 morning alongside Moses. "It should make a great focal point for anybody needing reassurance or help."

Joey Comley of Clinton, a 2009 MCSOL graduate, summed it up in two words. "It's beautiful."

As workers wrapped up their finishing touches to attach the sculpture to the law school wall, Gore observed their every move. The 1951 Mississippi College graduate quoted a passage from the Bible, the beginning of the 5th chapter of Matthew, that sets the scene for his sculpture.

"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him; And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.' Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth."

There are Greek letters atop the huge sculpture. It shows Jesus wearing a crown of thorns.

MCSOL law dean Jim Rosenblatt, who was on hand to watch both of Gore's scultures go up, was key to making it all happen, Gore says. "Dean Rosenblatt has exceptional vision," Gore says. "He's an encourager of students, but he also tries to bring out the best of anyone's potential."

Gore has taught art classes at his alma mater in Clinton since the early 1950s and is former chairman of the art department. The modest Mississippian doesn't take credit for his many achievements. "I am accountable as an artist to my Creator for stewardship of life, gift, career and concept of art," he says.

Gore, who turns 82 in November, promises to keep up the pace to produce more glorious creations. The Texas native said he will keep working as "the odometer keeps rolling."

Joining him for the uplifting occasion was his daughter, Dr. Judy Gearhart, an MC graduate who teaches family medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and her son Samuel. "It feels complete to see the companion piece go up," said Gearhart, an MC graduate. Samuel also helped the artist with the project. "I did the right hand on Jesus," said the student at Mt. Salus Christian School in Clinton.

The hard part was done by Sam Gore to patiently get the bronze sculpture of 2,500 to 3,000 pounds put together. Getting it on the wall wasn't really difficult. "It was nothing to it," said Obie Rinewald of Ridgeland, the construction superintendent with Mid-State Construction in Jackson. "The wall was already prepped."

Gore says his newest sculpture weighs a little more than Moses the Lawgiver that went up over a year ago. That would make it the biggest of Gore's illustrious art career that spans more than five decades and gained him international recognition.

Along to capture the installation of the sculpture Monday was Clarion-Ledger award-winning photographer Barbara Gauntt. The New Jersey native has documented Gore's latest masterpiece from start to finish.

Photo: Sculptor Sam Gore watches as workers carefully raise the 12-foot sculpture into place.

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