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The Making of a Monument: President Truman Returns to Washington

Watch this virtual presentation now 

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States from 1945 to 1953.  A year later artist Tom Corbin was born in Dayton, Ohio.  In 2021, Tom Corbin and President Truman came face-to-face in his Kansas City studio.

When the Truman Library Institute announced their Truman monument project in 2019, Tom stepped forward.  He and four other sculptors would have to first create a 3-foot version of the former President from Independence, Missouri, then from there one of the artists would be chosen. The only guidelines the Truman Library Institute team provided was that there could not be a cane, there could not be a hat.

Before Tom could settle on a pose, he knew he needed to get to know the president better, so he read books about him, visited the Truman Library, and even made a trip to D.C. to the Hall of Statues in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol for inspiration.

It was clear that Harry wasn’t at all like those other prestigious figures standing so stoic, and unapproachable. Tom knew he had to do something unique with President Truman’s stance to help tell his story. So, to express the down-to-earth personality of our 33rd President, Tom’s maquette (a fancy word for model) was cast with Truman descending a set of stairs as if he was walking down the steps of the capitol or walking down the steps of his home in Independence, Missouri.

Tom’s initial work was done and submitted in December of 2019. He and the other artists were told they would hear by the end of the month which one would receive the honor. December passed. February passed. March arrived as did a letter in the mail from the Truman Library Institute.  Tom was sure it was a “Dear Tom” letter. He was wrong and elated.  Work was now to begin on his life size version of the smaller model.

On February 17th, Tom Corbin graciously joined the Lakeview Village Retirement Community virtual event to take questions about his artistic process for fulfilling this commissioned work.  He shared where the life size bronze of Mr. Truman is currently and other highly interesting behind the scenes side notes about the project.

Also, this self-taught artist shares how he left his sales job to find his true passion in sculpting and where you will find Tom’s bronze work in Kansas City and in Hollywood films.

Click here to watch the back story of this presidential project, a film by the Truman Library Institute, and enjoy this rare opportunity to hear from a world-renowned artist who is just as approachable and down-to-earth as the President from Independence, Missouri.

To learn more about upcoming special events at Lakeview Village in Lenexa reach out to the marketing department at 913-744-2449 or send an email to LTenbrink@LakeviewVillage.org.

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