Sculpture fit for a man of Mike Callas' stature

Work to be unveiled at stadium opening

Work to be unveiled at stadium opening

February 07, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD


No one can duplicate Mike Callas, the late longtime Hagerstown businessman and philanthropist for whom North Hagerstown High School is naming its stadium.

But Chuck Noland - after nearly 120 pounds of clay and 150 hours of molding and scraping - has been able to capture Callas' likeness in a 34-inch-tall sculpture.

Noland, 54, will take the sculpture that the Mike Callas Stadium Committee commissioned him to make to New Arts Foundry in Baltimore next week to be cast in bronze, a process that will take about six months. The bronze sculpture likely will be unveiled when the stadium opens around the start of the 2006 fall sports season, Noland said.


Callas died May 31, 2004, at age 83. The stadium was named after Callas in July 2004 in a unanimous Washington County Board of Education vote. His niece, Cathy Lewis, said The Michael G. Callas Charitable Trust donated $500,000 to the stadium committee in November when ground was broken for the stadium project.

Lewis said the committee "already started the idea of the bust" before the donation.

She has been consulting with Noland throughout the project and said she couldn't be happier about the result.

"It's very impressive," she said.

Lewis saw the statue over weekend and said she asked Noland to work on his right cheek.

"I want him to look like Uncle Mike," she said.

Noland said he has enjoyed working with Lewis, whom he said has given him photographs of Callas taken from different angles and helped him adjust his sculpture to look more like Callas.

"It's really a satisfying feeling because I'm pouring myself into this, but more importantly, I'm trying to get what her uncle looked like," he said.

In a basement studio at his Fountain Head home Monday, Noland's maquette, or smaller model of the sculpture, stood poised next to the larger sculpture. Photographs, taken mostly of Callas' smiling face, were posted next to the sculptures for reference. Shavings of clay curled at its base.

Noland continued to smooth out the sculpture. He said that he has more details to flesh out, including finishing Callas' hands, before he takes it to the foundry.

"I'm not going to let it leave my studio until I'm totally satisfied with it," he said.

In 11 days, Noland completed and submitted the maquette to the stadium committee by a Nov. 21 deadline. His maquette was selected by the committee and since January, after perfecting the smaller version, Noland has been working to perfect the final version.

Working mainly with portraits of Callas, Noland said he used photographs of his own torso, modeling a blazer, to replicate folds in the material and his stature. He is using an oil-based clay.

When Noland was planning where he would place Callas' hands, he sculpted one "hand in his pocket because he was such a giver."

For his other hand, Noland said he placed it on a piece of granite "because he is really the foundation of the community."

Noland said it helped that he knew Callas.

"I had met Mike several times and always admired him," he said.

Noland, a former NBC25 program director, said he has always loved sculpting, but had not immersed himself in the craft until about two years ago.

The sculpture of Callas is his biggest piece to date and also his first public piece.

He said he will have the maquette cast in bronze to keep for himself.

He said it will be up to the committee to decide when to unveil the sculpture, but said he knows it will sit in a garden at the stadium.

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