year 2006, Charles Foster and I had many conversations about having a
. The eighteen sculptures currently in the
are gifts donated to the City by the
international communities, representing important persons from Asia,
North America, Latin America and
. The collections of sculptures in the garden include Mahatma Gandhi
, Bernardo Higgins from
, Robert Burns from
, Benito Juarez from
and many others.
Who would be the best person to represent
China? There were a few proposed candidates, including Deng Xiaoping, Dr.
Sun Yat-sen, Sun Tzu and a few others. But over the long five thousand
years of the Chinese history, Confucius, named one of the top ten most
important persons that impacted the world, is probably the most
influential figure. After many discussions and meetings with the local
Chinese community leaders, including Leon
Chen, Harry Sun, David Tang, and many others, we reached the
consensus to present a Confucius statue to the
to represent China
June of 2008, Charles and I had a lunch meeting with Willy Wang, a
renowned sculptor in
. We told Willy that we were going to build a Statue of Great
Confucius in the
and asked him if he could help us craft the statue. Willy said he
would give it some thoughts. A week later, Willy called and said he
would do it because it is a very worthwhile project.
after Willy agreed to join us on this project, in the early summer of
2008, I had a meeting with Consul General Qiao Hong of
, who strongly endorsed the initiative of this project and promised
full support from the consulate. We
later formed a project team to present the Sculpture to the city.
Charles Foster and Leon Chen agreed to serve as the co-chairs, Elaine
Zhang as the secretary, David Tang as the spokesperson and Harry Sun
to serve as the treasurer and ceremony chair.
Minnette Boesel, Mayor White’s Assistant
for Cultural Affairs, took office in early
August 2008, one of her first emails was from me inquiring the city
procedures of accepting a gift statue at the
. She was very excited about the project and quickly gave me the city
ordinance on the
and related guidelines.
I was working with the city on the gift procedure in the fall of 2008,
Willy took a special trip to visit the Fine Art Institute of China to
conduct his researches on Confucius and his times. There is a Standard
Sculpture of Confucius available in
, but Willy thought he could do a better job to more adequately
demonstrate Confucius’ life and his significance in the history of
October 3rd, 2008, the Consulate General of China in
, the City of
and Friends of Confucius Sculpture for
had a meeting and jointly initiated the Great Confucius Statue
project. The dedication date was set to be September 26th,
2009 at the meeting.
February 3rd and 11th, 2009, we presented the
mock-up of the statue and our proposal to the Hermann Park Garden
Center Advisory Board and Houston Arts Alliance, and received the
approval from both. In the approval process, one frequently asked
question was how tall Confucius was. I was able to find in the book of
“Records of the Grand Historian” that
Confucius was indeed a 7 ft and 3 inches tall man. But, he is still
slightly shorter than our beloved basketball player Yao Ming.
Feb 21st, 2009, Willy officially started his frame work of
the statue at his
studio. In the following three months, Willy often worked more than
ten hours daily on a seven-day working week schedule. On May 6th,
the clay statue was molded into a rubber model and later casted into
bronze at a foundry in
Sep 2nd, at the City Council meeting, it was unanimously
passed that the City of Houston will accept the gift of the Great
Confucius Statue as a gift and will permanently place it at the
International Sculpture Garden of Hermann Park. This date is surely a
milestone of our project.
Today, on Sep 26th, 2009, we are gathering here at
to dedicate this Great Confucius Statue to the City of
, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of establishment
of the Sino-US diplomatic relations and the 2,560th
anniversary of the birth of Confucius.
This statue would not have been here without our community’s
support, especially support from our donors. I want to thank every one
of our forty donors for their trust, friendship and encouragement,
without which we would not have been able to get together here today.
Their names are permanently engraved on the foundation of the statue
and they will be remembered for their great contribution to this
I want to take this opportunity to thank Mayor White and Mrs.
White for their support on this project. I also want to thank many of
our friends at the city: Minnette Boesel, Mayor's Assistant for
Cultural Affairs, Joe Turner, Director of the Parks and Recreation
Department, Rick Dewees, Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation
Department, Susan Christian and Eileen Quan of the Special Events
Department, Frank Michel, Communications Director, Jan Clark of the
city Legal Department, Bernard Simien of HPD, Mary Hughes of Houston
Garden Center. My thanks also go to the city council and all of the
council members for passing the resolution to accept this art piece
. I want to specially thank Councilwoman Wanda Adams for bringing this
up to the council meeting.
In addition, I want to thank the Hermann Park Garden Center
Advisory Board, specially its Chairwoman Susan Keeton, and Doreen
Stoller, the Executive Director of Herman Park Conservancy. My thanks
also go to the Houston Arts Alliance Board for their valuable inputs.
project’s success is based on the strong support from the Houston
Chinese community. Many local organizations were involved in this
project, including the
, Asia Society, Guangdong Association of Texas, Shandong Fellowship
Association, Yee Fung Toy Family Association, and many others.
The unique feature of this statue is that it is ALL Made in
. The statue was crafted
by our fellow Houstonian Willy Wang at his
studio. The molding and foundry work is completed at
by Deep in the Heart Art Foundry. The pedestal and foundation is done
by one of the best monument companies in the country, Schlitzerberger
& Daughters Monuments, here in
Lastly but not the least, I want to thank our friends at the
Consulate General of China in
. Their initiative and continuous guidance of this project has been
significant to today’s dedication. I want to thank Consul General
Gao Yanping and her predecessor Consul General Qiao Hong, Deputy
Consul General Yu Boren, Deputy Consul General Zhou Ding, Consul Chu
Kaimin, Consul Chen Guangda, Consul Ran Qijun, Counsellor Tsai Lien
and her predecessor Counsellor Li Jiping, Consul Sun Aiping, and many
Now, visitors that come to this wonderful garden will
see the Confucius Statue and have a chance to read Confucius’
teachings. Confucius after 2,560 years has come to
to share his wisdom, ideals and thoughts.