Leslee's Smile, steel sculpture
A quote from sculptor Valerie Mann:
"When I found out the extent of Leslee Niethammer’s cancer diagnosis, my first impulse was to grieve. My second impulse was to create a sculpture in honor of her. My goal was to make a maquette, propose the idea to her and have her name the piece. She was tickled with the design and we had fun conversations about the piece and the details – the fact that the glass in the final sculpture will cast color onto the concrete below when the light shines through, not to mention pretty interesting shadows. I told her the piece reminded me of a smile.
The initial shape of the piece, before the addition of glass, came from a project I had worked on with 10 grade-school kids, during the school year of 2014 – 15. We co-designed an 8-foot steel sculpture for their apartment complex. The half-circle pieces were part of a tree (think Dr. Seuss-type trees). I liked the shape so much by itself and the way it sat on the ground that I thought it would make a great, large, stand-alone sculpture.
The piece reminds me of a smile, not only because the design process with the grade school kids was a joyous process, but because of that smile Leslee was always so quick to pull out during conversation.
Leslee and I spoke about the sculpture proposal and about how I wanted her to title it just days before she went to hospice. She never did get to title it, but I’m so glad she got to see the design and give her blessing. "
Help us build this sculpture in honor of our dear Leslee Niethammer and all of the cool things she did for our community that we will continue to enjoy for years to come.
Friends of Henne Field
199 W. Michigan Ave.
Saline, MI 48176