A bronze bust of the late former Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon was cast Tuesday at the Anderson University Art Foundry and will soon be displayed at the Indiana Statehouse. Ken Ryden, a professor of art at the university, was awarded the contract to complete the bronze bust, which will cost $20,000 of privately raised money. Ryden poured boiling bronze into a handcrafted mold of O’Bannon’s head Tuesday. The air tasted metallic and smelled of burnt pennies as the media and O’Bannon’s wife, Judy, watched, the Herald Bulletin reported. An hour and a half later, the bronze was set and Ryden cracked open the mold with a sledge hammer. The bronze bust of O’Bannon shone amid the dust and clay pieces. “It’s magnificent,” Judy O’Bannon said.
The O'Bannon Memorial Commission selected Ken Ryden, AU Professor of Art, at the recommendation of artists associated with the Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana Historical Society. Support for the bust was raised privately, largely from the late governor's friends and supporters.
The bust will sit in an alcove at the Statehouse that is just outside the Democrats' door to the Senate, where O'Bannon served as a senator from his southern Indiana hometown of Corydon for 18 years. He also presided over the chamber for eight years as lieutenant governor.
O’Bannon, a Democrat, was first elected governor in 1996 and then again in 2000. He died of a stroke in September 2003 with about 16 months left in his term.
— The above story was created from content written by the Associated Press and staff writer Stacey Grosh at the Anderson Herald-Bulletin ( www.theheraldbulletin.com ).