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Sculpture, garden dedicated as tribute to retired social worker

by UofL Today last modified May 20, 2010 04:58 PM

Future social workers at the University of Louisville have a place to go for respite and inspiration thanks to Louisville metal sculptor Dave Caudill and his wife JoAnn Harrison.

Sculpture, garden dedicated as tribute to retired social worker

Dave Caudill and his wife JoAnn Harrison

Caudill created and recently gave to the Kent School of Social Work a piece to honor his wife, a 1991 Kent School alumna and a longtime social worker. She retired in 2004 after serving for 32 years and in many roles at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. She worked in the Jefferson Region of the state agency's Department for Community-based Services.

The 12-foot-tall work, "The Balance of Dreams and Plans," was dedicated May 20 in a ceremony outside Oppenheimer Hall on the west side of Belknap Campus.

Atop a black metal pedestal, the abstract stainless-steel artwork is the centerpiece of the JoAnn Harrison Rose Garden and brick-paved Oppenheimer Hall plaza.

"In social work, dreams and plans must come together to provide the best outcomes for our families," Harrison said. "It makes me very happy to know we've been able to leave a lasting legacy to the university that has given me so much."

Caudill and Harrison wanted to place the sculpture near the Kent School building so students there could “consider a life well-spent” in their future profession.

The couple also gave Kent School a collection of books and framed photographs that illustrate people helped by social workers.

“The Balance of Dreams and Plans” joins other Caudill sculptures on campus. One large piece titled “Symphony of Notes” adorns the front entrance. Another piece, “The Search for Musical North,” hangs in the lobby.

"The works I've done are almost totally abstract,” Caudill said the day the piece was installed. “I'm just looking for a form and a sense of lyricism which appeals to me. When a piece feels right, it's done."

"It's not just the form but all the internal spaces, the sense of space. It's almost a tangible thing. It's a lyricism… It's like music that doesn't have any words; it's a feeling."

Observers, he said, "just need to be open to feeling it."

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