by Jen Donovan
In honor of its founding members, artist and sculptor Clark B. Fitz-Gerald was commissioned to create a sculpture for the IRA’s headquarters in Newark, DE.
The sculpture entitled “Syntax” is a bronze frieze wrapping around one entrance to the building.
The late Fitz-Gerald was deeply inspired by nature. After many years of teaching art, he decided to move to Castine, Maine to devote the rest of his days to his craft. Fitz-Gerald was a renowned sculptor of public art pieces and was commissioned by many prominent cities, churches, and universities. For years he supported his family with his art.
The sculpture created for the IRA was finished in 1981. Years passed and the elements had taken their toll on the copper, weathering it to a dull gray -green. The piece, which represented the foundation of the organization, was recently refurbished to highlight and restore Fitz-Gerald’s original vision. The sun now illuminates the copper pieces against the recently-updated maroon background.
“Syntax” resembles a series of symbols somewhat like a primitive language or alphabet. The unique, uneven pieces seem to almost fit together, but not quite. The shapes bring to the mind images of shapes found in nature. An essential part of the IRA’s mission is to promote knowledge of language through the love of reading. “Syntax” is a fusion of Fitz-Gerald’s affinity for nature and the beauty of symbols, letters, and language itself.
Jen Donovan is an intern in the Strategic Communications Department of the International Reading Association.