Leslie Colonna, Assistant Professor of Art and Design at Lewis University, received her Master’s degree in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and was the principal artistic consultant and visualizer of The Encounter. Leslie was able to bring her expertise in sculpture, art history, drawing and watercolor to turn the sculpture committee’s ideas into a sophisticated sculptural design. Her solution includes three core components, subject, form, and content, blended together to create the final design. First, the design faithfully represents the subject and story of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, seen through the figure’s physical characteristics and the doorway. Second, its realistic and dynamic composition come from the use of formal principles of design and proportion, influenced by classical sculpture. Finally, the design visually expresses the dominant symbolic meaning the committee was striving for, as seen in the figure’s outstretched hand and its implied movement through the door.
Leslie worked closely with Dr. Kurt Schackmuth, Vice President for Student Life and Chief Mission Officer and Alec Smith, the sculptor/fabricator, as Alec expertly translated the design into three dimensions, to make sure those qualities of the subject, form, and content were effectively transferred into the finished sculpture. From Leslie’s point of view, the final outcome is everything she hoped for, thanks to the tireless efforts and patience of all. The sculpture is interactive and inclusive. Viewers can naturally participate with it on multiple levels. And it visually expresses the essence of the mission of Lewis University. Leslie was grateful and delighted to have been part of the project.
What follows are sketches of the early monument concepts, as well as specific aspects of it, including the statue of Saint John Baptist de La Salle.