Wichita State unveils one-of-a-kind WuShock statue on campus
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita State University on Tuesday (Sept. 15, 2020) unveiled a big gift: an eight-and-one-half foot tall statue of the university’s mascot, WuShock. The bronze sculpture is the first of its kind on campus.
The statue is a gift from Steve Clark to Wichita State, the YMCA and the Wichita community. Tuesday, Eyewitness News spoke with the sculptor behind the gift.
Local artist and sculptor Connie Ernatt waited anxiously for Tuesday’s unveiling of her 3-D, bronze depiction of WuShock.
“When you haven’t seen it for a little while and you come back, and you’re like, ‘oh, that’s better than I remember,'" she said with a laugh." So, that’s really exciting."
Ernatt committed more than a year to the project that started as a simple idea: create a lifesized WuShock.
“I was a little surprised. I didn’t know that he had never been officially transferred into 3-D, but that gave me a lot of license because then as an artist, maybe that sythe and all the animals, maybe they’ve always been there. We just couldn’t see the back,” she said.
The 3-D WuShock creation began with sketches by Wade Hampton. It then was made into a two-foot-tall maquette that was scanned to create a mockup out of foam. Ernatt then covered it with clay before it went into the mold stage where 80 pieces were cast into wax. Finally, each piece was cast into bronze. And slowly, the vintage WuShock came to life.
“It’s like a big 3-D puzzle that doesn’t want to go back exactly right,” Ernatt said. “It’s so complicated with all that wheat and the details of it. It was hard to get it together.”
Ernatt said the animals added with the sculpture are part of a memorial to Steve Clark’s late wife, Judy.
“It was important to me to add something to represent her,” she said. “Birds are symbolic of messengers of the soul or souls that have taken flight, so I really liked the idea of adding a little chickadee on the back.”
WuShock will sit in front of the Steve Clark YMCA on Wichita State’s Innovation Campus. Clark is a Wichita State alumnus and more than two-decade-long support of the Greater Wichita YMCA.
“Every time (Clark) talks about the Y, he always talks about the values, caring, respect, honesty, responsibility. I think he lives his life that way. He knows the Y’s mission is to share those values with our community,” Greater Wichita YMCA President and CEO Ronn McMahon said. “I think, in a sense, the combination, collaboration with Wichita State also symbolizes that and with Wu kind of bringing it all together.”
Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.