The Women of Duna

Early on in the process the work of Deborah Butterfield seemed a fitting choice. Both women share a love of animals, especially horses. There is a Kentucky Derby connection: Catherine always loved and enjoyed watching the Derby and Deborah Butterfield was born on May 7, the same day as the 75th running of the Kentucky Derby. A love of art and nature are also common passions.

The statue Duna is a mare, strong and graceful, traits shared by both its creator and its benefactor. The statue is approximately 8′ long by 8′ high by 5′ wide and made of bronzed wood. The artist’s technique allows her to work with even the most delicate branches as she creates her horses. Listen to this short interview as Deborah Butterfield explains in her own words how her work evolved. All of her horse statues are females: she views them as ‘symbolic self-portraits.’ Butterfield’s work is exhibited and in the permanent collections of many museums and collections in the United States and abroad.

The sculpture is marvelous to look at from afar as well as up close. Jim Gamble ensured that the site and position of the sculpture at installation maximized Duna’s beauty. Outdoor sculpture is tactile and begs to be touched, similar to how horses love to be stroked and petted. Outdoor art is an ideal way to introduce children to sculpture on a grand scale. Duna is a beautiful sculpture, and the terms of the generous bequest provide for its care in perpetuity. Go visit it soon.

[NB: A special thank you to Donna and James Gamble who generously shared with me their recollections, notes and personal photographs of Catherine Stallings and the dedication ceremony.]

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