Alumnus' sculpture displayed in memorial park to honor veterans
By Kathleen Walker
Alum Scott Autry stands with his sculpture
"Lost But Not Forgotten."
Scott Autry (art, 2006) looked to the past rather than the future for his first piece in Kennesaw State Professor of Art Ayokunle Odeleye’s class. Autry’s grandfather fought in the battles of Okinawa, Japan and Guadalcanal in the Soloman Islands, and his step-grandfather fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima in Japan. “I grew up listening to their stories,” he says, “and I wanted to find some way to honor them. They died so we could have a better life.”
The sculpture, a 13-foot World War II M1 Garand rifle and dog tags made of mild 8-inch metal, bears the name “Lost But Not Forgotten.” Autry explains, “Prof. Odeleye gave me the freedom to work on any project, and I had the idea of creating an ode to both of my grandfathers.” He spent 18 months completing the statue, which he says worked out better than he could ever have planned. “I’m really excited about the piece and I was very fortunate to have it placed in the park.”
The park in which the sculpture is displayed is the Murray County Veterans Memorial Park in Dalton, Ga. The sculpture was dedicated on Memorial Day. City of Dalton staff members oversaw the painting and mounting of the sculpture as well as the installation of a Plexiglas to protect it from the elements.
Several World War II veterans were on hand to watch the dedication ceremonies. “The older gentlemen made a point to thank me,” Autry says. “Having them show their gratitude that way made me feel so good since I created the sculpture to preserve the memory of past soldiers.”
Autry’s current projects center around his job at a company that makes concrete molds for garden ornaments. “Having a sculpture degree is great for mold making,” he says. “I use what I learned at KSU every day.” He also finds time for creating his own works of art from the paintbrushes used on the ornaments. “I like using the paintbrushes in my art because I feel like I’m doing my part to recycle.”
While making molds and designing sculptures out of paintbrushes keeps Autry busy for now, he has more plans for the future. “I think I’d like to go back to school and become a teacher,” he says. “Prof. Keith Smith and Prof. Odeleye taught me more than I paid for, and being in their classes was such a great experience that I’d like to become an art teacher so I can pass on what I’ve learned.”