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Saving the Pioneer Mother

Pioneer Mother statue outside of Clare Middle School before cleaning. COURTESY PHOTO

Pioneer Mother statue outside of Clare Middle School before cleaning. COURTESY PHOTO

CLARE — It is really happening. The Pioneer Mother statue located in front of the Clare Middle School has been sitting majestically in the wind, the rain and snow since 1938. At 74 years of age, she is finally getting a facelift. The sculptor, Samuel Cashwan would be pleased. In a “Save Outdoor Sculpture, Michigan survey, 1993”, the Smithsonian Institution of Washington D.C. noted the sculpture was in dire need of refurbishing.

The Clare County Arts Council has taken on the task with a fundraiser benefit in September of 2012. The goal is to restore the magnificent stone statue which was part of the Depression Era program which paid artists to create art for public facilities.

Pioneer Mother statue outside of Clare Middle School after cleaning. COURTESY PHOTO

Pioneer Mother statue outside of Clare Middle School after cleaning. COURTESY PHOTO

Clare students in 1936-38  were involved in choosing the subject matter for the statue.  Sketches were submitted by Samuel Cashwan and the students chose  “The Pioneer Mother,” investing money from the senior class fund to help pay for the stone.

The first phase has begun. The initial cleaning and getting rid of the mold is done. The process will work through the winter before the final phase and will be completed and sealed in the spring.

Donations are still being accepted by the Clare County Arts Council in a special fund for the statue.  For more information, call Carol Santini at (989) 482-8211 or Jane Sartor Key at (989) 386-7107. Donations may be mailed to CCAC, P.O. Box 412, Clare, MI 48617.

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