She sculpts men of status

     Blending art and history is nothing new as we recall oil and watercolor portraits of somber figures, dressed in their period garb, rather smug and disinterested. But do we remember the significance of each picture as we mingle among the gallery-lined walls, eyes calling to you READ ME as in competition with the next staunch-looking mug. Usually the descriptive bio is just as boring as the dead stare in their eyes, leaving us forgetting what half the names and accomplishments were five minutes after leaving.

     One artist understands the importance of using art as a tool in captivating the essence of our history and preserving in a way that keeps the knowledge alive. A member of the Centerville-Washington Township Historical Society and the Montgomery County Historical Society, artist and sculptor Virginia Krause Hess of Dayton, Ohio area, brings together a beauty to the past as never experienced.

     Using abstract design concepts to bring out an expression of the real thing, Hess has managed to replace a mundane world of history with the bright, elusive bust and bas-relief replicas of an exciting just waiting to be learned. Intrigued with the Wright Brothers and their history, Virginia read Charles E. Taylor 1868-1956: the Wright Brothers Mechanician (the Man Who Provided the Power for the First Powered Flight) by Howard R. DuFour with  Peter J. Unitt; edited by David K. Vaughan, published in 1997, and felt compelled to sculpt a portrait of the very significant and little known mechanic, responsible in many ways for the Wright Brothers success and notoriety.

Charles E. Taylor

     The first creation was “Bronze Bust of Charles Taylor, Wright Brothers Mechanic,” and builder of the first airplane engine, commissioned and displayed at Embry Riddle University of Daytona Beach, Florida in 2004. Today, the maintenance school at Embry is named after Taylor.

     The Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association ( has purchased six of the busts and has given them to the San Diego Aerospace Museum; the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar Hazy Center; Wright State University (Paul Lawrence Dunbar Library); and three American Airlines overhaul bases in Kansas City, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Alliance, Texas. Future busts are planned for the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Southwest Airlines Maintenance Base in Dallas, Texas.

     Hess has many commissioned works on public display, including “Energy,” a large sculpture installed at the CINergy offices in Florence, Kentucky. Bronze bas-relief portraits of Viola and Frank Ali, for Ali Industries, Fairborn, Ohio, and Anthony Munoz, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals as well as inducted into the NFL Pro Football Hall in 1998.

Winnie Cole

     Winnie Cole, a professional golfer who competed with Sam Snead and many others were unveiled as a preserved sculpture in 2004 by the Cotton States Golf Association in Monroe, Louisiana. Children’s Medical Center founder, Dr. Wallace Taggart, MD, stands at the Center in Dayton, Ohio, his bust proudly honored in 1988. Former mayor of Dayton, Dave Hall was unveiled in 2003 at the entrance in Dave Hall Plaza. The list of historic figures goes on and on. National juried shows, invitational shows, specialized exhibits and organizations round out Hess’s resume to over ten pages.

     Hundreds of artistic sculptures and oil paintings are slowly working their way around the country, replacing what we thought was our only option of learning about history. A woman by the name of Virginia Krause Hess, who saw the need for an uplifting change in the past, combined with our growing need for art, will one day be in our history books herself.

Frank and Viola Ali

     For the complete listing of awards and special exhibits, visit

 ccSOURCE: Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Volume 20, Number 2, 2007-08 Fall/Winter print edition/Bugle Section cover feature.

Published by on December 2012. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Bugle Section, Cover Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment for “She sculpts men of status”

  1. I thought that your bust was outstanding. Lois Fortson

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