Three bronze ducks joined their animal friends at UA’s Child Research and Development Center on Friday, September 19. The Dean of UA’s College of Human Environmental Sciences, Dr. Milla Boschung, unveiled a new sculpture group by renowned artist Frank Fleming in the CRDC’s sculpture garden.
Three slightly-larger-than-life bronze ducks are Fleming’s latest creation for the sculpture garden on Fifth Avenue East in Tuscaloosa. Mrs. Margaret E. Rhoads, a friend of the College, gave the sculptures on behalf of herself and her late husband John L. Rhoads.
At Friday’s unveiling ceremony, Dean Boschung introduced Fleming to the large audience of adults and children that included UA President (and former CHES dean) Judy Bonner, Mrs. Rhoads and Mrs. Amy Baker-Parton, the College’s Director of Development.
Fleming’s previous sculpture garden bronzes, “Peter the Rabbit,” “John the Turtle” and “Frank the Frog,” now welcome three new friends. The ducks’ names, Dean Boschung revealed, are “Milla,” “Judy” and “Amy,” in honor of three of Fleming’s supporters, Milla Boschung, Judy Bonner and Amy Baker-Parton.
Frank Fleming received his MFA in sculpture from UA’s Department of Art and Art History in 1973. He quickly gained national attention for his bisque and glazed porcelain pieces in the 1970s and went on to have a successful career over four decades creating fantastical animal and plant sculptures in metal and ceramics. He is best known for his “Storyteller” fountain in Birmingham’s Five Points South. Fleming also created a rendering in bronze of the Monroeville Courthouse Clock Tower, awarded each year to the winner of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year.
Mrs. Rhoads, who with her late husband also gave the other animal bronzes for the sculpture garden, has been a longtime friend of Fleming. In 2005, after a tour of the then-newly built Child Research and Development Center, Mrs. Rhoads suggested an art sculpture garden for the children to enjoy.