Artist Kristen Visbal's bronze statue of the "Fearless Girl" in New York garnered praise from around the world after it was installed March 7, just a day ahead of International Women's Day.
The bronzed girl, who stands just over 4 feet with an unwavering confidence, her hands on her hips as she stares down Wall Street's "Charging Bull," was cast by Hampden's New Arts Foundry.
Responsible for well-known sculptures around Maryland — including the Thurgood Marshall Memorial in Annapolis and the Ray Lewis statue outside of M&T Bank Stadium — the local bronze casting studio was approached for the project by State Street Global Advisors, the Boston-based investment management company behind the idea. But New Arts Foundry owner Gary Siegel said the foundry initially declined to cast the statue.
"There was a lot of discussion as to what the project was going to be early on, but without going into detail, the project that they wanted to do was too big," Siegel said this week.
The group soon returned with a second adaptation — artist Visbal's design of the 50-inch "Fearless Girl." It was smaller in size, but it still packed a big message, one that paired State Street Global Advisors' urgent push for more female directors on corporate boards. The bronze foundry signed on.
State Street Global Advisors confirmed that New Arts Foundry cast the statue.
"What happens in our process is we generally work from a clay model, and from that clay model, we make rubber molds and wax castings, and we make another wax casting that we pour bronze into," said Siegel, who has operated the studio on Clipper Heights Avenue near Roosevelt Park for just shy of 40 years.
New Arts started working on the statue in early February, once it received the wax model; the statue was finished just a week before it was erected, Siegel said. He declined to say how much the foundry was paid.
Siegel said he was glad to add the lauded feminist piece to the foundry's resume — which includes statues of Orioles Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr., in Camden Yards.
"It's always exciting to be involved in a project that gets this sort of recognition, but the kind of acceptance and the turnout for it has just been really nice to see," he said. "Anytime you're involved in something like this, it's always fun."
And the work hasn't stopped for the studio, Siegel said.
New Arts Foundry is currently working on a statue of Maggie L. Walker, an African-American woman born in the 19th century who became the first woman of any race to own a bank in the United States. The statue will be erected in Walker's birthplace of Richmond, Va.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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*This story has been updated.