Keeping it Local: Artists Chosen for Crusher Statue


Exciting news today, as Chris Smith announced he has chosen an artist to construct Da Crusher statute planned for downtown.

And, better still, she has strong South Milwaukee ties. Congratulations, Beth Sahagian!

From the NOW story

Vanguard Sculpture Services, owned by Beth Sahagian, signed a contract for construction on July 18. They were the choice out of four bids and GoFundMe organizer Chris Smith said Sahagian’s South Milwaukee roots played a role in the decision.

“I have no doubt because she’s from South Milwaukee that I think it was very clear to all of us that she recognized the importance of The Crusher to this city,” he said. “That is just something that really shone through in her bid.”

Sahagian, who went to school with Crusher’s children and nieces, chose artist Thomas Holleran, a Milwaukee native, to create the sculpture. She chose Holleran because he is “an outstanding figure sculpter that can capture the essence of a person.” She said she also wanted someone local so the family and all those involved could have access to the process.

“For me, this is just going to be a lot of fun,” Sahagian said. “Reconnecting with all these people I knew growing up, I’m looking forward to it, and the artist is just beside himself.”

Smith saw some of Holleran’s previous work and said “the level of detail is amazing.”

Holleran will first work on a clay miniature of the statue to present to Smith and The Crusher’s family for approval. Smith said he hopes the full-size statue will be completed by June 1. No location for the statue has been finalized, but city staff and Mayor Erik Brooks are in discussions of a few possible locations, according to Smith.

The full amount raised during the GoFundMe campaign will be utilized for the project, but no specific numbers were revealed.

“Vanguard is a renowned fine art foundry with over 20 years of experience,“ Smith said. “We appreciate Beth taking on this project at a discount because she recognizes the importance of it to the city of South Milwaukee.” … 

Vanguard Sculpture Services, 3374 W. Hopkins St. in Milwaukee, has worked with many different artists and she herself designed a number of sculptures along the Milwaukee Riverwalk. Additionally, the company had a hand in the Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well.

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