Rollins College Shares First Look Of Fred Rogers‘ Sculpture
Rollins College celebrates the birthday of influential alumnus, Fred McFeely Rogers ’51 (born March 20, 1928), by releasing “first look” photos of a new sculpture in his likeness which will be permanently installed on campus later this year. Titled “A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor,” the sculpture was commissioned to honor Rogers’ legacy and was designed by Paul Day, a British artist renowned for his public monuments.
“Fred Rogers remains a model for generations, personifying empathy, acceptance and kindness,” said Rollins President Grant H. Cornwell, Ph.D. “At Rollins, his influence continues to be felt both in the spirit of service to others, as well as in physical reminders along the self-guided Mister Rogers Walking Tour. Paul Day’s new sculpture will be the latest and most significant salute to our iconic graduate in his collegiate neighborhood.”
In the first look photos, Day’s clay 360° sculpture model depicts Rogers in his iconic sweater and sneakers, surrounded by children. Hand puppets from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” adorn the back of the statue, and lyrics from the series’ theme song are commemorated in script along the base. The finished sculpture, cast in bronze, will stand over seven feet tall and weigh more than 3,000 pounds.
“After researching Fred Rogers’ life and speaking with people about his legacy, it was important that this sculpture honor his enduring impact in the field of childhood development,” said Mr. Day. “Sculpting a posthumous portrait of Fred surrounded by children, to whom he dedicated his life, has been both challenging and inspiring. I hope that, once installed, this memorial sculpture will bring joy and inspiration to many people.”
Day is creating “A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor” in his country studio near Dijon in Burgundy, France. The sculpture will be completed this spring and publicly unveiled on the Rollins College campus in October 2021.by