By Eric Dehm
The works of renowned sculptor Sabin Howard are featured in exclusive private collections, and museums, around the world. Still, his current project is something different, something bigger, and he knows it. That’s why he spent 80 hours a week for several months working on the design for the World War 1 memorial that will be placed in Washington D.C.’s Pershing Park.
“I really immersed myself in this project like no other project I have done before because I see the gravitas of what I have to do,” Howard tells ConnectingVets.com. “This is not only to describe a war, it’s also to honor all our servicemen.”
And to honor those who served, Howard had to make decisions on what focus he should take on a war that was so multi-faceted.
“My job is to really make this war visceral to the visitors to the memorial,” Howard says. “So when they leave the memorial, they’re gonna have a real experience and want to go home and find out more about that war. Because this is a war that changed the world, both societally and how we see ourselves as human beings.
To do so, he worked with architect Joe Weishaar to create a memorial Howard says he hopes is as impressive as it is ambitious. the sculptures show the journey of an American soldier through “The Great War” and is intended to be not just seen but experienced and empathized with.
“I didn’t make them larger than life, I made them very close to human scale so that they’re accessible, and they’re also at almost street level so it’s not way, way up above people so people will be able to reach out and touch the memorial. It’s an interactive piece that gets people going emotionally so that the drama of the sculpture gives them something to think about and when they walk away they’re like ‘woah, I’ve got to know more about this, this is something that’s really important.'”
At this point, the memorial is still in the presentation stage. Howard currently has a scale model of the design produced in conjunction with WETA, the special effects workshop in New Zealand best known for their work in The Lord Of The Rings. He’s hoping the models will speed up the process of getting agency approval from the Fine Arts Committee, which Howard hopes will happen in 2018. After gaining that approval, the process still might take several more years before it opens to visitors. Howard says he’s not too concerned with when it happens, because whenever it does, the light shining on his work of art will truly be shining on those veterans who gave their all for the United States.
After gaining that approval, the process still might take several more years before it opens to visitors. Howard says he’s not too concerned with when it happens, because whenever it does, the light shining on his work of art will truly be shining on those veterans who gave their all for the United States.