Your life is a book and
every day is a page,
and one day that book
will be read to you
and you can’t deny it
because you’ve written it.
- Elijah Pierce
Pierce was a renowned master woodcarver, a humble barber, and a
beloved lay minister. As
a woodcarver, he was one of the great American traditional and
self-taught artists of the century.
Pierce moved to Columbus in 1923, where he lived and worked for
60 years until his death May 7, 1984.
His homes and barbershops were located in neighborhoods
on Columbus’ near east side.
The two-room shop that he built in 1954 at 534 East Long
St. also served as a gallery to display his carvings.
the fall of 2000, Columbus State Community College erected
bronze statue of Elijah Pierce on the NE corner of Long and
Washington streets. The
statue itself is 10 feet tall and sits on two 8” risers for an
overall height of 11 feet, 4 inches.
The sculptor is Steven Weitzman of Weitzman Studios, Inc.
in Brentwood, Maryland.
is our hope that this statue will honor and keep alive the
memory of Elijah Pierce and that many people will come to know
and understand his remarkable contributions to our community and
the world of folk art.
About the Sculptor of the Statue
Steve Weitzman, 48, was born in New York City.
At age 19, he began a successful career as a freelance
illustrator and painter in Boulder, Colorado.
During the next 12 years, he received numerous design
awards for his work as a graphic artist and figurative sculptor.
In 1983, his work as a sculptor expanded to include
large-scale public art.
Weitzman garnered international recognition in 1985, when the
sculpture he created for the United Nations was dedicated during
a ceremony celebrating the United Nations’ fortieth
anniversary. In 1988, he was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution
to create a 30’ sculpture for the National Zoo, in Washington,
D.C. This sculpture
stands at the entrance to the National Zoo and is one of the
largest wood sculptures in the Smithsonian Institution’s
Steve Weitzman has created over twenty large-scale figurative
sculptures for cities and municipalities throughout the United
States and has recently installed twenty-four 20’ x 34’
bas-relief murals for the City of Wichita, Kansas.
Weitzman studied photographs of Elijah Pierce, his writings,
and his art in order to capture his “essence” in a pose.
Because Pierce was a deeply religious man, Weitzman chose
to depict Pierce deep in concentration, carving with his hands
cupped around his work as if praying.