Alumnus sculptor to show "living bronze"

"Grandpa Storyteller" is one of several life-size bronze sculptures by Victor Issa which will be on display in the McClelland Art Gallery and on Union's campus November 7-27.

Victor Issa, a 1980 Union College graduate, has devoted his life to making bronze sculpture come alive in displays around the country. Now, from November 7 to 27, his life-size and smaller bronze works will be on display at the McClelland Art Gallery on the campus of Union College. Gallery visitors will also have an opportunity to meet the artist at a reception on Monday, November 7, at 7:00 p.m.

A renowned sculptor whose works are featured in numerous private collections and public displays across the country, Issa is the co-founder and president of the Loveland Sculpture Invitational Show and Sale, the largest sculpture show in the United States. Issa contributes to several private galleries in the western states and owns a workshop in Loveland, Colo., where visitors can observe the sculpting process.

Issa's ability to give an impression of vivacity in bronze has earned him the reputation for “creating living bronze” among fans and collectors. “It is a long and arduous process,” said Issa. “To create an artful form that appears alive demands many hundreds of hours of inspired and meticulous labor by both the sculptor and foundry artisans.” Yet despite the long hours of work, Issa describes creating living bronze as his passion. “I believe just as God found fulfillment in creating the human race, He endowed His creation with a similar need to express our joys, fears and hopes through the creative process.” 

Among the works on display will be several of his more prominent life-size sculptures including “The Jester,” “Grandpa the Storyteller” and “Sports Buddies.”

Issa first came to Union College as an immigrant from Lebanon, took introductory English classes, and went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in art education. While attending Union he received sculptural training at the University of Nebraska under Thomas Sheffield.

Issa has devoted much time and work to Union throughout the years. He has several permanent displays already dotting the campus and will bring more for the coming exhibition. “Ascension,” a bronze figure of a female dancer, and “Jester,” a life-size plaster bust of a larger work, both on display in Engel Hall, were presented to the college in 2005 in recognition and appreciation of his professors and influences at the college. Issa also created a bronze sculpture for the Peace Sculpture Garden in the Ortner Center, entitled “Prince of Peace,” and the current Golden Cords display, a bronze and cultured marble arrangement in the lobby of the Everett Dick Administration Building, which honors Union students and graduates who serve as missionaries.

Issa’s connection to Union and Lincoln brings special significance to the exhibit. “I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and I hope my sculptures can be an inspiration on many levels to the community,” he said of his visit. “Through my work, I hope to uplift the soul by reflecting on the beautiful and the inspirational.” 

The McClelland Art Gallery is located in the Ortner Center on the Union College campus at 3800 S. 48th Street.  The gallery is free and open to the public daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact the Ortner Center at 402.486.2545.