Garland Got a Statue

A beautiful symbol of culture perfectly positioned in front of the Patty Granville Arts Center. When I first saw the now sprawling center for the arts, I thought that Patty Granville must be a very wealthy citizen who invested in building this cultural oasis. Indeed, in time I learned she had invested heavily in the facility, but hers was a sweat equity investment. Decades ago, The City of Garland was fortunate enough to lure Patty from her kids’ daytime TV show to assume responsibility for the operation of  their Performing Arts Center. She was caretaker, sales manager and starred on stage at their Performing Arts Center. From that point in time to this the PAC has been continuously evolving. It now houses two theaters and the adjacent Atrium, a banquet hall. Renamed The Patty Granville Arts Center, the complex is now home to the Garland Symphony, the Garland Civic Theatre and the Garland Summer Musicals. When those entities are not in performance, the facility if available for use by other performance groups. There is also a rotating visual arts display in the lobby and gallery area. Patty Granville oversees the day to day business of the arts center and also participates in its stage productions.


We believe Vision of the Arts should stand as a symbol of Patty Granville’s tremendous contribution to the City of Garland. And so, as Hollywood stars are presented with an Oscar for outstanding performances, she should be awarded this magnificent bronze statue. While the Oscar is a mere 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds, this one weighs a couple of tons and stands over 20 feet high. A monument for a monumental endeavor!


It took a team of folks about three years to make this vision materialize, with many setbacks along the way. Barvo, a noted Dallas sculptor was commissioned  and the project was approved by the Garland City Council. The City agreed to foot a portion of the bill, and Patty and her team would have to figure out how to raise the rest.  The statue is a montage of faces depicting different forms of performance, topped off by a ballerina. The statue consists of a pyramid of more than 40 faces, 16 of which were purchased for $2,000 each, as part of the fundraising effort.


The “Vision of the Arts” sculpture makes a perfect centerpiece for the Patty Granville Arts Center. The dedication took place on the afternoon of Sunday, September 7th. It was a lively celebration, with mariachis in their traditional garb, costumed characters from The Wizard of Oz circulating in the crowd and many guest speakers. Mayor Lori Dodson, our previous mayor Douglas Athas, Barvo and a host of others made comments. The most emotional speaker was DeAnne Driver, who had served as President of the Garland Cultural Arts Commission during the long journey from conception to completion. Her likeness also dances atop the twenty foot tall bronze statue.


Having been installed on its pedestal and appropriately dedicated, Garland’s newest piece of outdoor art now awaits its admirers. Among the dozens of figures on the sculpture, they will find a Fiddler on the Roof, Peter Pan, and so many more recognizable characters from well known stage plays. If they look very closely, they may find faces resembling Garland citizens and city employees. Bill Dollar, former City Manager, is there playing a bass fiddle. There’s a police officer and other likenesses to discover. Visitors will also note the minute detail Barvo worked into the magnificent bronze sculpture. There are details such as a little bronze mouse, shoes with discernible shoe laces, lapel pins, and creases in clothing that give life to the characters.


Don’t just walk or drive by, but take time to get close up and personal with the sculpture. Find inscriptions, such as, “All the world is a stage”, notice the baton raised high in the hand of the orchestra conductor, and locate your personal favorite character. Take time to get acquainted with this gift. You’ll want to return with family and friends, and each time you will find something new to enjoy. Thank you Patty Granville and everyone who played a part in making this beautiful gift to the citizens of Garland possible.