NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – He’s the artist behind some of Music City’s iconic landmarks, and now Nashville sculptor Alan LeQuire is speaking with News 2 about his work after shying away from the spotlight.
The city of Nashville commissioned LeQuire to build a replica of the Greek goddess Athena in 1982. He said he spent years researching the project because there was no existing model and the statue had to be built to scale for Nashville’s full-scale replica of the ancient Parthenon in Centennial Park.
“It took eight years to complete,” he told News 2. “It was primarily a technical challenge to create a piece that big, and the hardest part was the engineering and working out, just the process of enlarging it to that scale.”
LeQuire said learning his craft has been a slow process, and he seemed destined to follow in his father’s footsteps with a career in medicine.
That though changed after he graduated in Vanderbilt University and studied art in Italy.
“I felt I discovered a new freedom of expression, and, since then, I’ve crossed several other hurdles but I’m still working on those, just the physical skill of producing form in space,” he explained.
Many of LeQuire’s early models for his sculptures can be found in his West Nashville studio. There’s even a small-scale replica of Musica – nine dancing figures that stand 16 feet high in the heart of Nashville’s Music Row.
It’s also the centerpiece for a series of choreographed fountains that will be added in November.
“Musica was always meant to be a fountain,” LeQuire said. “It’s meant to be a celebration of music, of course, but the symbolism of a fountain is music.”
A colossal scale portrait of actor and singer Paul Robeson is part of LeQuire’s personal collection of cultural heroes.
Another historically inspired creation comes from the 1920s – life-sized portraits of the women’s suffrage movement located in Nashville’s Centennial Park.
“The one in Nashville is five women who were all here in 1920. They were leaders from across the state and Carrie Chapman Catt, this figure who was the national president,” he said.
LeQuire said he would like to do more portrait statues of great women in the future.Click here for more of Anne Holt’s Tennessee stories.